Explain something to me please

Explain

The verb explain is used when we would like make something clear or easy to understand, by describing or giving information about it (para aclarar, explicar o exponer algo).

It is used with a direct object (objeto directo), or with a direct object and a prepositional phrase with to.

A common mistake is to say “please explain me it”. You will be understood but you have made a mistake. The error is in using an indirect object pronoun (me) directly after the verb “explain”.

Consider these examples.

  1. Mr. Rajoy explained the problem to me.

Check the structure: subject = Mr. Rajoy, verb = explained, direct object = the problem and to “me” = indirect object.

If you had said (si hubiera dicho) “Mr. Rajoy explained me the problem”, you would be understood, but you have made a mistake.

  1. I explained the problem to him (se lo explique…). Here we have subject, verb, direct object and indirect object.
  1. Can you explain the reasons to me?

Not: Can you explain me the reasons?

  1. We explained the situation to the team.

Not: We explained the team the situation.

We don’t use explain to mean ‘describe’. Describe means ‘say or write what someone or something is like’. If we explain something, we give a reason for it or say how it works:

To describe myself, I am very poor and a farm worker. This sentence is correct.

This is wrong: To explain myself, I am very poor….

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