Tuesday, May 10, 2011
The following idioms all indicate adding clarity:
Making things clear
Spelling things out
Saying it straight
Making something plain
Robert: The boss was making things clear at that staff meeting. He wasn't happy.
Steve: The boss really spelled things out, huh?
Robert: Oh yes. He was saying it straight, no sugar-coating whatsoever.
Steve: So he made plain that he wasn't happy.
Robert: Oh, that was crystal clear. He made sure we all understood.
Note that each of the idioms above refers to the exact same event. Using different idioms to say the same thing avoids repetition while adding emphasis. In the above case, the two men are agreeing on the same set of facts through a process of two-way communication.
When a phrasal verb (such as "making clear") is used as an idiom, different tenses of the verb are permitted (such as "he made clear ten minutes ago that...").