Give an Account Of: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 29, 2023

The phrase "give an account of" is often used to request a detailed explanation or description of an event, situation, or topic. It means to tell a story or explain the details about something that happened or about a certain subject. This phrase is commonly found in formal settings like academic discussions, business meetings, and legal contexts, but it can also be used in everyday conversation. It implies a need for clarity, detail, and often a chronological order of events or aspects.

In short:

  • It's a request for a detailed explanation or description.
  • It is often used in situations where clarity and detail are important.

What Does "Give an Account of" Mean?

When someone asks to "give an account of" something, they want a thorough and clear explanation or description. It's about presenting facts or details about an event, process, or topic. For example, a teacher might ask a student to "give an account of" the causes of World War I in a history class, or a manager might ask an employee to "give an account of" the progress on a project.

Let's dig into its core meanings and usage:

  • It requires a detailed and often factual explanation.
  • This phrase is used when someone needs to understand the full story or all the details.
  • It can involve recounting events, explaining processes, or describing situations.
  • Commonly used in educational, professional, and sometimes legal contexts.
  • Similar phrases include "explain in detail," "describe fully," and "tell the story of."

Where Does "Give an Account of" Come From?

The origin of the phrase "give an account of" is not precisely known, but it has been a part of English language usage for centuries. It likely originated from the literal meaning of the word 'account,' which refers to a report or a description of an event. It has since become a standard phrase in academic and professional discourse.

Historical Example

"The committee asked the CEO to give an account of the company's financial dealings over the past year."

- Business Journal, 2005

10 Examples of "Give an Account of" in Sentences

To help you understand when to use "give an account of," here are some examples from different situations:

  • The historian was asked to give an account of the events leading up to the war.
  • I will get back to you tomorrow to give an account of our project's progress.
  • Rain or shine, the team is ready to give an account of their fieldwork at the meeting.
  • He needed to give an account of how the funds were used in the budget report.
  • Drawing from her extensive research, she was able to give an account of the historical event in great detail.
  • The manager requested the team to give an account of their contributions to the project.
  • Cut the crap and just give an account of what happened at the event without any exaggerations.
  • The committee is requesting to give an account of all the decisions made during the last fiscal year in the upcoming review session.
  • The scientist gave an account of his latest research findings at the conference.
  • During the interview, he was asked to give an account of his previous job responsibilities.

Examples of "Give an Account of" in Pop Culture

The phrase "give an account of" is often seen in pop culture, usually in scenarios involving storytelling, explanations, or revelations.

Let's look at some examples:

  • In the book “Giving an Account of Oneself,” Judith Butler discusses the concept of moral philosophy and ethical practice. She emphasizes the importance of understanding oneself about social conditions.
  • A post on the website “Brainly” discusses the lives and works of various composers such as Schubert, Chopin, Mendelssohn, Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Dvořák, and Brahms. The post asks readers to “give an account of” the type of music these composers created.
  • In the song "Give an Account" by Jackson and the Janks, the lyrics resonate with accountability: "You got to give an account of your sin. Give an account of your sin. Give an account of your sin. You can't hide, you can't hide."

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Give an Account of"

Here are some alternative phrases that express the same idea as "give an account of":

  • Describe in detail
  • Explain thoroughly
  • Report on
  • Tell the story of
  • Recount
  • Narrate
  • Relay information about
  • Provide details on
  • Outline
  • Give a rundown of

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Give an Account of":

  • What does "give an account of" mean?

"Give an account of" means providing a detailed explanation or description of an event, situation, or topic, often with emphasis on facts and details.

  • How can I use "give an account of" in a sentence?

You can use it to request or provide a thorough explanation. For example: "Can you give an account of the events leading up to the incident?" or "She gave an account of her research findings."

  • Is "give an account of" a formal phrase?

Yes, it's typically used in formal contexts like academic writing, professional reports, and legal statements, but it can also be used in everyday conversation for emphasis.

  • Does it require providing evidence or proof?

While not always necessary, giving an account often involves providing evidence or proof to support the explanation, especially in formal or academic settings.

  • Can it be used in storytelling?

Yes, in storytelling, "give an account of" can be used to narrate events or experiences with detail and depth.

  • Is it similar to testifying in court?

Yes, in legal settings, giving an account can be similar to testifying, as it involves providing a detailed and often factual narrative of events.

  • How is it used in academic research?

In academic research, giving an account of something involves presenting detailed information about a study, theory, or findings, often backed by data and references.

  • Can "give an account of" be used in business?

Yes, in business, it's used to describe or explain business processes, decisions, or financial activities in detail.

  • Does it imply a certain level of expertise or knowledge?

Not necessarily. While it often involves a detailed explanation, the person giving an account doesn't always have to be an expert but should be knowledgeable about the topic.

  • Can it be used for personal experiences?

Yes, one can use it to share personal experiences or opinions in a detailed and structured way.

Final Thoughts About "Give an Account of"

The phrase "give an account of" is a useful tool for requesting or providing detailed explanations in a variety of situations, from formal reports to personal stories. It's valuable in ensuring clarity and depth in communication, especially where facts and details are important.

Here's a quick recap:

  • It's used to request or provide detailed explanations or descriptions.
  • Applicable in formal and informal contexts, including legal, academic, and personal settings.
  • It often involves presenting facts, evidence, or structured narration.
  • Useful in conveying clarity and depth of information.

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