Whats the difference between explicit and implicit information?

2 years ago


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Stanley Simonis

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50 Answers

Sofia C Profile Picture

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Explicit information is information that is stated clearly, in no uncertain terms and with no ambiguity. Implicit information is implied - so it is not stated, but instead it is hinted at. It is information that is understood or assumed but not stated outright. Both forms of information are very important and are used regularly.

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Ashley Cella

Explicit describes something that is very clear and without vagueness or ambiguity. Implicit often functions as the opposite, referring to something that is understood, but not described clearly or directly, and often using implication or assumption.

Ruth O'Neill

Explicit is when something is obvious, really clear to see. Like Harry Potter is the character's name. That's explicit information. Implicit is when we infer, or read between the lines to think about what a writer might be trying to tell us, what their message is. So when Harry Potter is described as wearing a pointy hat, riding a broomstick and has an owl, that's suggesting to us that he's a wizard, it's reading between the lines, looking for clues and making a decision. Explicit is when it's clear, almost a fact. Implicit is reading between the lines.

Allison M Profile Picture

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Explicit is when a writer will clearly state something. Implicit is when a writer suggest something and you have to infer (work out) what they mean.

For example if a writer talks about a white Dove, explicitly he is talking about a bird. Implicitly he could be referring to peace.

Hope this was helpful please send a message if you need anymore help.

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Sarah K Profile Picture

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When assisting a student with understanding the difference between explicit and implicit, I tend to use a set discussion I created some time ago and have found most students catch on quickly.

I ask the student what the colour green means to them, with all saying it means "go" "on" and a few have even said "forward". I then ask what the colour red means to them. Invariably they all say it means "stop". Afterwards I explain to them, that due to cultural norms, these two colours now have implicit information attached to them. I then ask them to try to think of something using colour which states a command. Again, universally I receive the "stop sign" answer. By building a foundation rooted in their own knowledge of the world around them, and then asking them to make a logical leap from implicit information to something explicit, I've found that even students who were really struggling with the concepts feel much more secure and confident in moving forward with further examples.

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Explicit information is when writers state something clearly and openly in a text. Implicit information means something is suggested by a writer and not directly stated. Another word for this is inference! You will need to look for signs and work out the writer's intended meaning for yourself.

Marcus G Profile Picture

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The main difference is how obvious the information is, both in presentation and in content. Explicit information is shared or broadcast publically, usually with the aim of convincing someone. A great example is when you want to buy a car, and they tell you that it's got low finance rates. This is something the salesman would like you to know, because he thinks it would be nice for you and because he wants to sell the car. Implicit information, on the other hand, is often not communicated very clearly. Explicit information is put out there, and when you see it there's no ambiguity. You might not see implicit information to begin with as it may not be shared, but even if you see it you might not understand. Again with our car sale, say that you notice a small disclaimer at the bottom of a form. It mentions something about cancelation of premium finance rates in the event of an accident. This information was hard to see, you weren't told about it, and you may not understand it. The salesman has no advantage to share it; in this case, cancelled rates mean that if your payment will change if you get into an accident.

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Nicola Buskell

The definition of explicit information is information that is clearly stated (there is nothing implied) i.e the large red tractor. The reader knows that the tractor is large and red, the reader can not assume anything different.

The definition of implicit is 'implied' so it is not something that is stated directly, the reader must understand the information by using other clues within the text. Implied can mean suggested

An example of this would be a sentence in a book that suggests something without actually describing it i.e. As she looked across the bay she could see the lights coming on as it began to get cooler...

This sentence implies that that the day is drawing to a close. It is a hint or suggestion rather than an explicit fact.

Oliver D Profile Picture

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Hi Stanley

Explicit information is what's on the surface. Implicit information is what's just below that.

The phrase 'It's a bit cold' is explicitly about the current temperature, but it also implies that the speaker might prefer to be somewhere warmer!

I hope this helps.

Best wishes


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Hana Hafez

Hi there, Stanley, excellent question. Explicit meanings are those bits of information in the text that are clear and evidently understood - information that does not require much thought since they're obvious. For example, "Linda's face turned red with grief". Implicit, however, refers to information within the text that holds some level of ambiguity. That means it isn't so easy to understand the rooted meaning as it requires some thought. For example, "Linda's face turned red".

Kian J Profile Picture

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Hi Stanley,

Explicit information is any information that is stated literally. For example: 'The forest was dark and dreary' is explicit because it leaves nothing open to interpretation. The author has stated factually that the forest is both dark and dreary. Conversely, implicit information is any information that is indirectly suggested without saying the meaning outright. For example, the sentence: 'If you don't raise my salary, I'll have to review my options' suggests that the speaker intends to leave the job unless the boss raises their salary, hence the phrasing 'review my options.' In summary, any explicit answer is any meaning that is directly stated by the author leaving no room for interpretation. By comparison, an implicit answer is a meaning that is indirectly suggested.

I hope this was helpful.

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Amn B Profile Picture

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In short, explicit information is right there on the page, in writing, you can’t miss it. Implicit information is those ideas you pick out by reading between the lines.

A real life example - your friend turns up to school and tells you “I’m so tired, I didn’t get enough sleep last night”. They’re telling you explicitly they’re tired. Now another friend walks in holding a coffee, an energy drink, and their shirt is buttoned up wrong. They start falling asleep 5 minutes into class. They didn’t say the words “I’m tired” but you can tell implicitly that they’re exhausted.

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Ruqaiya J Profile Picture

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Think of Explicit as being something that is Exposed and Implicit as something being Implied.

So explicit refers to when something is being obviously expressed whilst implicit refers to when something is indirectly being expressed.

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Eric Peliza

Explicit information is expressed clearly and definitively with precise and exact meaning. 

For example: ‘It was a bright, sunny morning and there wasn't a single cloud in the sky, yet the cold northerly wind meant that everybody was wearing winter clothing.’

This sentence uses explicit information that leaves no room for debate and the reader cannot assume anything other than what the words say.

Implicit information is implied or hinted at using indirect and vague language. 

For example: There was a something ominous about the way he expressed his concern when after the argument he calmly uttered “be careful on your way home, as it would be a shame if something happened to you.”

This sentence is completely ambiguous and is open to interpretation. The person expressing the concern hasn’t said he would directly harm the other person but he could easily be understood to be threatening harm because of the surrounding context. 

Tayo Holder

Explicit means obvious meaning while Implicit means unobvious meaning. So if something was explicit in a text, it means that the information is clearly stated for you. 

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