Direct and indirect objects after explain

To explain is to make something clear by giving a detailed description.

  • Can you explain how an aeroplane flies?
  • Can you explain the meaning of this poem?
  • How do you explain your erratic behaviour?

Explain can be followed by two objects.

Note that we use ‘to’ before the indirect object.

  • I explained my problem to her. (NOT I explained her my problem.)
  • Can you explain to me how to solve this problem? (NOT Can you explain me how to solve this problem?)

Explain yourself

To explain yourself is to justify your motives or behaviour.

Explain something away

To explain something away is to make something seem less embarrassing by giving an excuse for it.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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