Difference Between
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Explain vs. Expound: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed & Dua Fatima || Updated on March 7, 2024
Explain involves making an idea clear or understandable, while expound involves providing a detailed explanation or interpretation, often of complex subjects.
Explain vs. Expound

Key Differences

To explain is to clarify or make an idea, process, or concept understandable by breaking it down into simpler parts or by using relatable examples. It's often a straightforward act of making something clear to someone who might not initially understand it. Expound, on the other hand, goes deeper by providing a detailed and comprehensive explanation or interpretation of a subject. It involves elaborating on a topic with thorough detail and analysis, often to explicate complex theories, ideas, or texts.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024
When someone explains, they aim to bridge a gap in knowledge or understanding, making use of straightforward language and direct communication to achieve clarity. This can be seen in everyday situations, educational contexts, or professional environments where the goal is to convey information effectively and efficiently. Meanwhile, to expound is to delve into the intricacies of a subject, offering extensive insight and often a personal interpretation or argument. This is common in academic, religious, or philosophical discussions where a deep understanding of the material is required.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024
Explaining can be thought of as answering the "what" or "how" questions about a subject, providing the necessary information to understand a concept or solve a problem. In contrast, expounding might answer the "why" or "in what detail" questions, going beyond the surface to explore the roots and ramifications of a subject. This involves a more substantial commitment to dissecting and conveying complex ideas.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024
An effective explanation can make a complicated concept accessible to a general audience, using analogies, metaphors, or simplified models. Expounding, however, often targets an audience already familiar with the basic concepts but looking for more depth, such as students in advanced courses, professionals in a specific field, or participants in a debate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024
While explaining serves to make the unfamiliar familiar in a concise manner, expounding builds upon a foundational understanding, offering a richer, more detailed exploration of a topic. Both are crucial for knowledge transfer and intellectual discourse, but they cater to different stages of learning and understanding.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024
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Comparison Chart

Purpose

To make an idea understandable
To provide detailed explanation or interpretation
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Approach

Simplification and clarification
Detailed analysis and elaboration
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Context

Everyday situations, education, professional settings
Academic discussions, religious teachings, philosophical debates
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Goal

Bridging knowledge gaps
Offering depth and insight
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 07, 2024

Audience

General, those lacking specific knowledge
Those seeking deeper understanding
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024
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Questions Answered

What? How?
Why? In what detail?
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Techniques

Analogies, metaphors, simplified models
Argumentation, comprehensive analysis, personal interpretation
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Outcome

Immediate understanding of a concept
Enhanced depth and breadth of understanding
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Explain and Expound Definitions

Explain

Suitable for introductory learning.
The article explains the basics of climate change.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Expound

To elaborate on a topic in detail.
The professor expounded on the implications of quantum mechanics.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024
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Explain

Aiming for clarity and understanding.
She explained how to solve the equation step-by-step.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 07, 2024

Expound

Targets an informed audience.
During the lecture, she expounded her theory on social dynamics.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Explain

To make clear or easy to understand.
The teacher explained the theory of relativity using simple terms.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Expound

Often includes personal interpretation.
The preacher expounded the scriptures with new insight.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Explain

Often involves breaking down complex ideas.
The manual explains how to assemble the furniture.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Expound

Used for deepening understanding.
The seminar is designed to expound advanced topics in neuroscience.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 07, 2024

Explain

Used in direct communication.
He explained the rules of the game to the new players.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Expound

Cubs born ready to compete for dominance.
Hyena cubs are born with their eyes open, immediately engaging in social competition.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 07, 2024

Explain

Predominantly preys on small to medium-sized animals.
A dingo's diet includes rabbits, rodents, and occasionally kangaroos.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Expound

Involves in-depth analysis.
The book expounds the principles of ethical philosophy.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Explain

To make plain or comprehensible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

To explain in detail; elucidate
She expounded her theory on the origin of the conflict.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To define; expound
We explained our plan to the committee.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

To make known or set forth; present
"In the 1956 campaign he cheerfully expounded views that had gravely disturbed him four years earlier" (Helen Sasson).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To offer reasons for or a cause of; justify
Explain an error.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

To make a detailed statement
The professor was expounding on a favorite topic.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To offer reasons for the actions, beliefs, or remarks of (oneself).
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

(transitive) To set out the meaning of; to explain or discuss at length
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To make something plain or comprehensible
Let me explain.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

(intransitive) To make a statement, especially at length.
He expounded often on the dangers of the imperial presidency.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To make plain, manifest, or intelligible; to clear of obscurity; to illustrate the meaning of.
She is about to explain a chapter of the Bible to the Sunday School students.
She tried to explain but he wouldn’t listen.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

To lay open; to expose to view; to examine.
He expounded both his pockets.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To give a valid excuse for past behavior.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

To lay open the meaning of; to explain; to clear of obscurity; to interpret; as, to expound a text of Scripture, a law, a word, a meaning, or a riddle.
Expound this matter more fully to me.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

(obsolete) To make flat, smooth out.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

Add details, as to an account or idea; clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way, usually in writing;
She elaborated on the main ideas in her dissertation
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

(obsolete) To unfold or make visible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Expound

State;
Set forth one's reasons
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

(intransitive) To make something plain or intelligible.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To flatten; to spread out; to unfold; to expand.
The horse-chestnut is . . . ready to explain its leaf.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To make plain, manifest, or intelligible; to clear of obscurity; to expound; to unfold and illustrate the meaning of; as, to explain a chapter of the Bible.
Commentators to explain the difficult passages to you.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

To give an explanation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

Make palin and comprehensible;
He explained the laws of physics to his students
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

Define;
The committe explained their plan for fund-raising to the Dean
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Explain

Serve as a reason or cause or justification of;
Your need to sleep late does not excuse your late arrival at work
Her recent divorce amy explain her reluctance to date again
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Is explaining always simpler than expounding?

Generally, yes. Explaining aims to simplify, whereas expounding aims to elaborate and provide comprehensive detail.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Do explain and expound require different skill sets?

Both require the ability to communicate effectively, but expounding additionally requires a deep understanding of the subject and the ability to analyze and interpret it in detail.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

When should I use explain instead of expound?

Use explain when your goal is to make a concept clear or understandable, especially to someone unfamiliar with the topic.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Can expound be used for simple concepts?

While expound is typically used for complex subjects requiring detailed analysis, it can be applied to simpler concepts when a deep dive or thorough explanation is necessary.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Can someone explain and expound in the same discussion?

Yes, a discussion can start with an explanation of basic concepts before moving on to expound upon them with greater detail and depth.
Hifza Nasir
Hifza Nasir
Mar 07, 2024

How can I improve my ability to explain or expound?

Improving your understanding of the subject, practicing clear and effective communication, and adapting your language to your audience can enhance both explaining and expounding skills.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

Is expounding more common in certain fields?

Yes, fields that involve complex theories, texts, or ideas, such as philosophy, theology, and advanced scientific disciplines, often require expounding to fully convey and examine subjects.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Can expounding include personal opinions?

Yes, expounding often involves personal interpretation or argumentation, especially in fields like philosophy or literary analysis.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

What's the relationship between explaining and teaching?

Explaining is a fundamental aspect of teaching, as it involves making concepts clear and understandable to learners.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Mar 07, 2024

Why is it important to know the difference between explain and expound?

Understanding the difference helps in selecting the appropriate communication strategy based on the audience's knowledge level and the complexity of the subject matter.
Dua Fatima
Dua Fatima
Mar 07, 2024

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.
Dua Fatima
Co-written by
Dua Fatima

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