ADJ. convincing, credible, good, likely, logical, natural, obvious, plausible, probable, rational The most likely explanation is that his plane was delayed. | implausible, inadequate, unlikely | acceptable, adequate, reasonable, satisfactory, sufficient | no apparent There was no apparent explanation for the attack. | clear, coherent | complete, comprehensive, detailed, full | partial | complex, complicated | easy, simple | innocent, prosaic There's sure to be a perfectly innocent explanation for all this?though I admit it looks bizarre. | convenient | accepted, traditional There is no generally accepted explanation of this practice. | official | possible | correct, real, true | brief | lengthy, long | verbal | general | common the common explanations for hooliganism | only, sole It's the only explanation that makes any kind of sense. | causal The causal explanation must be that old age causes poverty, not that poverty causes people to be old. | ad hoc, post hoc post hoc (= after the event) explanations of historical changes that would have made no sense to anyone living at the time | cultural, historical, political, psychological, scientific, sociological, technical, theoretical
VERB + EXPLANATION have I had no explanation for her strange behaviour. | give (sb), offer (sb), provide (sb with) He only offered a partial explanation for his lateness. | enter into, go into, launch into She launched into a detailed explanation of every aspect of her work. | advance, propose, put forward one explanation advanced by Marxist historians | call for, need, require An explanation is clearly called for. | look for, seek | find, think of I can think of one possible explanation for her behaviour. | ask for, demand She wrote to the company demanding an explanation. | wait for | deserve, merit I suppose you deserve an explanation. | owe sb I think you owe me an explanation. | accept | defy Her success has been so remarkable as to defy explanation.
EXPLANATION + VERB lie The simplest explanation for his achievements lies in his greater ability and superiority over his contemporaries at university. | emerge, occur to sb, present itself, suggest itself No single clear explanation emerged from the experiments. A more credible explanation now occurred to her. Another quite plausible explanation presented itself.
PREP. in ~ ‘I've worked with them before, you see,’ he added, in explanation. | without ~ She left suddenly and without explanation. | ~ about He entered into a technical explanation about software and programming. | ~ as to He provided no explanation as to why he was late. | ~ for There is probably some perfectly logical explanation for their behaviour. | ~ from We are still waiting for a full explanation from the teacher concerned.
PHRASES an attempt at explanation The men left quickly with no attempt at explanation. | by way of explanation ‘I had to see you, ’ he said, by way of explanation.