Implicit and Explicit

The words “explicit” and “implicit” are antonyms. An idea or thought that is explicit is completely expressed. As a reader, we don’t have to guess at explicit ideas, thoughts or arguments. These types of ideas can be clearly identified. Implicit ideas, evidence, or thoughts are those that require the reader to infer meaning. Implicit evidence, ideas or thoughts requires that the reader assess the information and come to a conclusion.

Both explicit and implicit statements are important in different types of writing. Explicit statements are necessary in scientific and legal writing because their purpose is to convey facts and explain events without confusion. Comparing and contrasting, explaining how to solve a problem, or defining, all require explicit language. Implicit language is ideal for informal essays, fiction and poetry. These genres desire the reader to formulate their own meanings from implicit ideas. As we read literature, we bring our own thoughts, experiences and circumstances to a text. This means that individuals may see the same implicit language and come up with completely different meanings.

In language arts, you are often asked to answer questions. You are being asked, most often, to make inferences from evidence and come to a conclusion based on textual clues. Persuasive writing and essays often employ implicit and explicit thoughts and evidence.

As you are reading and writing, begin to notice the type of language that is used. Ask yourself whether the information being presented in explicit or implicit.

Last modified: Saturday, 10 November 2012, 2:06 PM