General Writing and Grammar Help/Expound or expound upon


pwm wrote at 2008-11-29 01:27:06
Expound means "to explain", whereas "expound upon" means "to expatiate upon", that is talk or write about in great detail.

writing_trainer wrote at 2012-08-16 17:31:48
I can't find a source verifying that distinction in meaning. If that distinction exists, then the preposition "upon" isn't just an optional grammar addition (like cut the carrots vs. cut up the carrots) but rather a marker that changes the meaning of what's being said/written (as many prepositions on phrasal verbs do--look at vs. look up or give in vs. give up.) Was looking for the distinction in dictionaries and on Dr. Brian's commonly confused words. I couldn't find a direct answer to the person's question.

Rocky wrote at 2013-03-06 20:32:29

Although I agree with the point that it is possible for a preposition to follow the verb "expound," I don't think that quite answers the original question. If you are writing informally, it probably doesn't matter much whether you use or drop the preposition, but if you are writing an academic or otherwise more formal work, you can drop the word "on" or "upon" and just say "expound."

References and Examples:

Merriam-Webster Collegiate (definition 2)

Garner's Modern American usage (3rd rev. ed., pp. 337-338)

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A.M. Roher


I am available to answer specific questions about grammar and writing. Although not available to proofread an entire essay, I am an expert grammarian with a professional writing background and the ability to help students or professionals.


With a Master of Arts in English, I have 27 years experience teaching honors writing and ten years experience in freelance journalism. With the 2004 publication of my nonfiction book, Mr. Picky and Me: Lessons of a Master Chickadee (Aptos, California: New Brighton Books), I also became a published author.

Former freelance journalist for Knight Ridder Newspapers
Published author with New Brighton Books of Aptos, California

B.A. in English from Kent State University
M.A. in English from California State University, Fullerton.

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