Explain it for listeners to understand it

Discussion in 'English Only' started by slovac, Jun 20, 2013.

  1. slovac Senior Member

    A:How shall I explain it?
    B:Explain it for listeners to understand it.

    Could you advise me please? I would like to ask about a manner in my first sentence. Do you think my answer is acceptable?

    Thank you.
     
  2. MuttQuad

    MuttQuad Senior Member

    New York, NY
    English - AmE
    (B) is not well worded. Better to say, "Explain it in a way so that listeners will understand it" or "Explain it in a way so that it will be understandable to listeners."
     
  3. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you. And what do you think of this option?

    Explain it in a way for listeners to understand it
     
  4. lilison Senior Member

    English - Canadian
    A better option would be: Explain it in such a way that listeners can understand it. (better than the one above, not better than MuttQuad's suggestions)
     
  5. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
     
  6. slovac Senior Member

    Could I ask about whether MuttQuad's sentences are not purpose sentence? Because SO THAT often refers to a purpose sentence.
     
  7. lilison Senior Member

    English - Canadian
    I would actually use that and not so that.
     
  8. slovac Senior Member

    Thank you.
     
  9. Egmont Senior Member

    Massachusetts, U.S.
    English - U.S.
    Or: "explain it so listeners can understand it."
     
  10. RM1(SS)

    RM1(SS) Senior Member

    Connecticut
    English - US (Midwest)
    That's the way I would say it.
     
  11. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    I really don't understand this phrase, because...

    ... if you "explained it" any other way than "so that [your] listeners can understand it," then you didn't explain it.

    In other words "explain it so listeners can understand it," to me, is the same as "explain it."

    In other words, it's not a natural phrase; therefore discussing it is potentially counter-productive.

    There are many similar, valid phrases: "Explain it in terms clear enough for the average listener to understand," "Explain it thoroughly so your listeners won't have any questions," "Explain it so thoroughly that your listeners won't have any questions," etc. But this sentence does not feel natural at all to me.
     
  12. MuttQuad

    MuttQuad Senior Member

    New York, NY
    English - AmE
    I guess you've never read a Fed Chairman's explanation of the results of it's latest meeting. Or the bureaucrats' explanations of the universal electronic spying program that 's just been unveiled. Or State's explanation of the whole Benghazi incident. :)
     
  13. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    But there are two ways to read it, Lucas, because there are two ways to read "so" (forget the unnecessary "that"): (1) in such a way; (2) in order that. You're assuming the first, a way of explaining; obviously any other way would be pointless. But the second does make sense, giving a reason to explain it.
     
  14. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    Wouldn't sentence (2) have to be: "explain it so that listeners will understand it"?
     
  15. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    I don't think so; in my opinion, the "that" is superfluous with either interpretation. But, it occurs to me, perhaps I'd insert a comma in the #2 sense: "Explain it, so listeners will understand it." I think it's clear then that "so" = in order that.
     
  16. lucas-sp Senior Member

    English - Californian
    We can drop the "that." I was talking about can. The verb "can," to me, makes the "in order that" reading impossible and the sentence needs to be rephrased.

    If we have "explain it so listeners can understand it," to me, it has to be #1 - "explain it in a manner [that] listeners can understand."

    If we tried to read it as #2, "in order that," the sentence would be "explain it in order that listeners can understand it," "in order that listeners be able to understand it." But by the logic of the sentence the listeners must already be able to understand it when you begin explaining it; their ability to understand is the precondition of your explaining and not the result of your explaining.

    Maybe contrast would help:

    Explain it so [that] listeners can understand it = Explain it in order that listeners can understand it :cross:
    Explain it so [that] listeners can do it themselves in the future = Explain it in order that listeners can do it themselves in the future :tick:
    Explain it so [that] listeners will understand it = Explain it in order that listeners will understand it :tick:
     

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