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Difference Between Explicit and Implicit 

Explicit and implicit are two words with similar meaning which leads to considerable confusion among native and English second language speakers.


What is Explicit?

Explicit is used to define a situation that has been thoroughly elaborated and expressed without leaving anything untouched. Something is said to be explicit when there is no room for confusion when performing a specific task.

Sentence example;

The teacher was explicit on who should be punished.

The word explicit has been used in the above sentence to demonstrate something that has been clearly and unambiguously expressed.


What is Implicit?

The term implicit is used to express something indirectly or implied. This means that the scenario under consideration has not been stated.

Something is explicit when people cannot understand it because it is not directly stated but is either suggested in the wording.

Sentence example;

He implicitly said he likes yellow trousers by saying she loves all colors but white.

In the sentence above, the man states that he likes all trouser colors but white. While he does not directly say he loves yellow trousers, he implicitly does because yellow is not white.


Difference Between Explicit and Implicit


From the definition of explicit and implicit, the difference in the description of the two terms can be detected. Implicit is used to express the implied meaning that does not exist. The meaning of an implicit sentence is suggested and does not exist.

On the other hand, explicitly expresses the actual meaning of the sentence. This means that anything that is communicated by an explicit phrase is the direct meaning that is correctly stated without any ambiguity.

Application in Poetry

Given that poetry and other literary works tend to communicate their meaning or themes in an indirect method, implicit communication is highly adopted. This illustrates why it is challenging to understand the meaning of the poems as they communicate indirectly.

Explicit communication is not highly adopted in poetry, and other literary works because it communicates directly which is not preferred in this discipline.

Secondary and Primary Meaning

Explicit sentences communicate the primary meaning of the phrase because they use actual words, which are easy to understand without any ambiguity. A person reading a text that has used explicit communication easily understands the subject under consideration.

On the other hand, implicit writing communicates the secondary meaning of the sentence. When one reads a sentence written explicitly, he or she needs to interrogate the phrase so that he or she can realize the primary meaning of the sentence that is usually hidden.

Application in Academic Writing

Academic writing does not adopt implicit writing because it has significant levels of ambiguity, which are not necessary when learning. Students are encouraged to write explicitly so that teachers can easily understand their meaning.

However, students engaging in literature and mastery of English language use implicit writing which is a great skill in poetry and literature.

Explicit and Implicit Function

In computer programming, an implicit function is a function in which the dependent variable is not expressed regarding some independent variables.

The compiler assumes that the function is declared and has been defined elsewhere.

For example: R (x, y) =0

The term specific function in computer programming is a function where the dependent variable is expressed regarding some independent variable. It is usually denoted by y=f(x).

Explicit and Implicit Relation

The explicit relation can be used in mathematics to express a situation where the dependent variable can be separated and can be isolated from one side of the equation.

For example, X+3Y=0.

From the function above, the dependent variable Y can be isolated to form a new function that reads Y=-X/2.

On the other hand, dependent variable cannot be separated from the function. This means that in an implicit relation, the dependent variable is not isolated on the left or right-hand side of the function. For example, you cannot separate independent variable Y from sin(x+e^y) =5y

Explicit and Implicit Cost

Explicit cost refers to the money incurred by the organization when factors of production, which include land, labor, and entrepreneurship, are concerned. This means that agencies bear the specific cost when they pay for labor services.

On the other hand, the implicit cost is the indirect expense incurred by the organization in an attempt to use the factor of production that it already possesses.

Difference Between Explicit and Implicit

Summary Explicit vs. Implicit

  • The explicit term in the English language is highly used to express something that has been clearly and directly stated without any ambiguity.
  • Implicit is derived from implied where the term is used to define something indirectly through suggestion or by implication.
  • Other differences between explicit and implicit terms can easily be defined from their application in poetry, function, cost, relation, secondary and primary meaning, and usage in academic writing among others.


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References :

[0]Altmann, Jörn, and Juthasit Rohitratana. "Software resource management considering the interrelation between explicit cost, energy consumption, and implicit cost." Multikonferenz Wirtschaftsinformatik 2010 (2010): 71. 

[1]Popa, Valeriu. "Some fixed point theorems for compatible mappings satisfying an implicit relation." DEMONSTRATION MATHEMATICA-POLITECHNIKA WARSZAWSKA 32 (1999): 157-163. 

[2]Walia, Tirlochan S. "Explicit and implicit cost of changes in the level of accounts receivable and the credit policy decision of the firm." Financial Management (1977): 75-78. 

[3]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/dullhunk/3525013547

[4]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/taedc/17024601989/in/photostream/

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