"to elaborate something" as "to elaborate on something"

loviii

Senior Member
russian
Greetings!

Definition of the verb "elaborate" from oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com:
1. to explain or describe something in a more detailed way:
elaborate (on something):​
(1) He said he was resigning but did not elaborate on his reasons.​
elaborate something:​
(2) She went on to elaborate her argument.​
2. to develop a plan, an idea, etc. and make it complicated or detailed:
elaborate something:​
In his plays he takes simple traditional tales and elaborates them.​

I'm interested only in the first item. Can I make the next conclusion from this definition and if not, then why?:
If we want to convey the first meaning of the verb "to elaborate", we can use both "to elaborate on something" and "to elaborate something". That is always when we see "to elaborate on something", we can leave out "on" and keep only "to elaborate something".​

My remade sentences:
(1a) He said he was resigning but did not elaborate his reasons.
(2a) She went on to elaborate on her argument.
(1) = (1a)?
(2) = (2a)?

Thanks!
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    "He said he was resigning but did not elaborate his reasons" isn't idiomatic in any variety of English I'm familiar with. But I rarely hear "elaborate" used without "on" at all.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Greetings!

    Definition of the verb "elaborate" from oxfordlearnersdictionaries.com:
    1. to explain or describe something in a more detailed way:
    elaborate (on something):​
    (1) He said he was resigning but did not elaborate on his reasons.​
    elaborate something:​
    (2) She went on to elaborate her argument.​
    2. to develop a plan, an idea, etc. and make it complicated or detailed:
    elaborate something:​
    In his plays he takes simple traditional tales and elaborates them.​

    I'm interested only in the first item. Can I make the next conclusion from this definition and if not, then why?:
    If we want to convey the first meaning of the verb "to elaborate", we can use both "to elaborate on something" and "to elaborate something". That is always when we see "to elaborate on something", we can leave out "on" and keep only "to elaborate something".​

    My remade sentences:
    (1a) He said he was resigning but did not elaborate his reasons.
    (2a) She went on to elaborate on her argument.
    (1) = (1a)?
    (2) = (2a)?

    Thanks!
    In general I think you elaborate on an idea, but you elaborate a thing.

    She elaborated her embroidery until her old jeans were a single mass of butterflies and flowers.

    I agree there are times you could use either form.
     

    loviii

    Senior Member
    russian
    I rarely hear "elaborate" used without "on" at all.
    I always hear it with "on".
    I found two examples with the verb "elaborate" that fall under the first definition, "to explain or describe something in a more detailed way". Here are they:

    merriam-webster.com (examples that are seen in pressing "See More" button):
    (3) … the National Weather Service … advised all citizens in New Orleans's water-filled neighborhoods "to take the necessary tools for survival." The Weather Service elaborated (on): "Those going into attics should try to take an axe or hatchet with them so they can cut their way onto the roof to avoid drowning should rising flood waters continue to rise into the attic."

    (4) I'll be glad to elaborate (on) if you want to hear more.

    The examples above are written without "on" and, as I understand, we could also write them with "on".
    Your choice would be to write them with "on", right?

    Thanks!
     

    The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    [...]

    The examples above are written without "on" and, as I understand, we could also write them with "on".
    Your choice would be to write them with "on", right?

    Thanks!
    No in both cases. Neither example describes what is to be elaborated on, so you can only use "elaborate" by itself.
     
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