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implicit or explicit

Implicit and Explicit are often confused as to which one to use.

Implicit means something that is generally understood, but not clearly stated. It is implied.  For example: They had an implicit agreement that the last person to leave the office would turn off the lights.  In other words, they never talked about it, but they understood it.

Implicit can also mean absolute or without doubt, no questions, as in, “I have implicit trust in the quality of their work.”


  • implicit understanding
  • implicit trust
  • implicit criticism
  • implicit biases

Explicit on the other hand means something that is stated clearly, in such a way that there is no misunderstanding.  For example: When giving directions teachers should always be explicit and to the point.


  • explicit directions
  • explicit threats
  • explicit understanding

Richard Carrigan

Richard Carrigan has been an educator for over 30 years. He has experience teaching professional and academic English. He earned his graduate degree from Shenandoah University.

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