explain-v; 2 Senses

Sense Number 1: clarify, make comprehensible, describe

Commentary: Syntax Is: NP1[agent] EXPLAIN [topic]
NOTE: the agent is NOT the cause of the phenomenon, but the communicator of it (differs from Sense 2)

He explained the laws of physics to his students.
The committee explained their plan for fund-raising to the Dean.
She explained that she was doing a piece on Susan Clancy's new book on UFO abductions.
She explained that Islam was brought to various parts of the world with previously existing cultures.
Both a science and an art book, Colorworm explains the electromagnetic spectrum and visible light.
The surgeon explained how to make the incision to the 1st-year medical students.

FrameNet: Explaining_the_facts
PropBank: explain.01
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 2

Sense Number 2: be a reason, cause, or justification of

Commentary: Syntax Is: NP1[agent] EXPLAIN NP2[patient]
NOTE: the subject NP -is- presented as the cause of the object (event, situation) (differs from Sense 1)

Her recent divorce may explain her reluctance to date again.
Oh! Well, that explains it.
This explains why Donald Rumsfeld so strongly opposed the reforms recommended by the 9/11 commission.
The purpose of these analyses was to test the hypothesis that IQ explains socioeconomic differentials.
All his conduct cannot be explained away as an innocent misunderstanding.

FrameNet: Explaining_the_facts,Justifying
PropBank: NM
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 3