As a lad I was taught that certain verbs such as "to say," "to describe," "to distribute," and "to explain" can take an indirect object only when it immediately follows a preposition, and that this indirect object can never immediately follow the verb.
- He explained to her what he meant.
- He explained what he meant to her.
According to the "rule," the first is incorrect and the second correct. Yet the second is ambiguous: it invites the interpretation that He explained to her his own significance in her life. The first sentence, which is unambiguous, violates the "rule."
Adding insult to injury, one of the expositions of this rule justifies it as follows:
One reason for this may be to avoid creating sentences which are ambiguous or confusing.
Is the "rule" that prohibits an indirect object adjacent to these verbs less a rule than a Best Practice?