I made him understand the concealed meaning of the sentence.

Can I rephrase the sentence without the word 'make'?

  • I don't see how. You can use I showed, or I explained, or I elucidated, but none of those imply that he got it, whereas made him understand does. – Colin Fine Jan 9 '19 at 13:50
  • 1
    How about “helped”? – pbasdf Jan 9 '19 at 13:52
  • 1
    What's wrong with "made" in that context? – Lawrence Jan 9 '19 at 16:03
  • It's also not clear if you think made means forced. What exactly do you think made means? – Jason Bassford Jan 10 '19 at 2:19
  • I got him to understand.... – Jim Jan 20 '19 at 18:43

I taught him the concealed meaning of his sentence.

'Taught' suggests more than for example 'explained' or 'pointed out'. 'Taught' suggests the information has been not only received but understood. After all, if there is no learning going on, there is no teaching going on either -- only attempted teaching.


"I enlightened him on the concealed meaning of the word. A synonym given by this source is "to instruct."


"I spelled out the concealed meaning for him"

or, simply

"I spelled it out for him"

to explain something in a very clear way with details:

The government has so far refused to spell out its plans/policies.

informal What do you mean you don't understand - do I have to spell it out for you?


This phrasal verb is commonly used in informal contexts. It specifically addresses your use case of concealed meaning most of the time it's used.

  • As far as I understand the term, spell out does not imply that the recipient actually did understand. You can say without contradiction I spelled it all out for him, but he still didn't get it. In contrast, if you made someone understand, then the recipient did indeed understand. – linguisticturn Jan 20 '19 at 11:30
  • That's how words work. You can also say "I showed it to him but he still didn't see it". Doesn't change the definition of show. – Tushar Raj Jan 21 '19 at 8:01

I ensured he understands the concealed meaning of the sentence.

Here are some examples of such usage from published literature:

Student comes to the office after morning recess and is escorted to class by home volunteer or designated school personnel (who will ensure he understands task he has to complete in class). (source)
Explain the postoperative procedure, i.e. the observations that will be carried out and the length of time he will have to remain in bed and ensure he understands why this is necessary. (source)
You need to ensure she understands the time restraints or delivery expectations. (source)
When Clarissa returns I will ensure she understands the unnecessary journey her lack of thought obliged you to make. (source)

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