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I've seen both of them used as "to explain" or "to interpret", but I am not sure if there are differences in connotation or anything else?

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  • why not look up 解释 and 讲解 in iciba,which has lots of example sentences besides explaining range of application of either。解释 appears to be used more frequently。 This is confirmed by "汉语动词 380 例", 380 most commonly used Chinese Verbs,which has the pair 解释/说明,but does not have 讲解。 – user6065 Jan 25 '15 at 18:52
  • Thank you! I didn't know about iciba, but I'll def look it up in the future. :) – Ruby Jan 26 '15 at 4:12
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Both can function as noun or verb. The basic difference is that 讲解 is "oral explanation", or "to explain orally", whereas 解释 simply means "explanation" or "to explain", and can be oral or written.

老師在課堂上講解得很清楚。 “The teacher explained (it) very clearly in class." (orally)

老師在課堂上解釋得很清楚。 “The teacher explained (it) very clearly in class." (presumably orally, but not spelt out)

課本第十頁解釋得很清楚。 ”Page 10 in the text book explains (it) very clearly."

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  • This was really helpful! Thank you so much! :) – Ruby Jan 26 '15 at 4:12
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讲解 = 讲 + 解.

Literally, 讲 means to talk, speak, and say, etc, and 解 means to solve, understand.

解释 = 解 + 释.

释, as far as I know, its' more like a Buddhism word which means to explain some profound idea and guide you to understand it.

Basically, when you mean someone tell you something orally, you may use the former one if you are saying "Somebody explained something to me orally".

The later one can be used in a wider range of situations since it does not limit the way you've been explained.

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  • Ah, I didn't know that Chinese was so precise! Thank you very much! – Ruby Feb 12 '15 at 4:31
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in addition to @monalisa 's answer, You can also use 解释 when you want to give a reason or excuse to something

Example: 我今天上课迟到了, 因该向老师解释一下迟到的原因. (I'm late for school today, I should explain the reason to my professor.)

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  • That example was really helpful, thank you so much! – Ruby Feb 12 '15 at 4:32
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讲解 has an emphasis on the person whom does the explaining 解释 is more strightfoward just explaining

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講解, 說明 are more commonly used when your explanation is to teach something. 解釋 is more similar to "explain" in English.

So for example, if a wife is angry at her husband, he can say 聽我解釋, but not 聽我講解 or 聽我說明.

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  • Ahh, that makes a lot of sense. Thank you very much for your explanation! – Ruby Feb 12 '15 at 4:30

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