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It took him numerous lectures to elucidate Saussure's linguistic theories.

[GISTS]

It takes him a lot of lectures to explain the difficult theory.

Can I interpret this sentence as two opposite ways ?

To his students (*He is a teacher and he needs many lectures to give *) or To himself (*He is a student and he have to listen to many lectures *) ?

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  • Do you understand the difference between 'explain' (teacher) and 'understand' (student)? Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 7:35
  • Explain is to give lecture while understand is to get or take the lecture. In this sentence above, 'take' means not to get. 'take' means kind of to 'need' or to 'cost'.
    – Kumas
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 7:46
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    Elucidate means 'explain', thus only one meaning is possible. Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 8:13
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    Thank you m(_ _)m I misunderstood the meaning of 'elucidate' as both to explain and to understand sth in my English-Japanese dic. But the English-English dic says, it is to give a clarifying explanation.
    – Kumas
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 8:36
  • It means he gave many lectures on the subject in order to make clear Saussure's linguistic theories. In other words, he didn't not just give a couple of lectures.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 27, 2021 at 21:02

2 Answers 2

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It takes him a lot of lectures to explain ABC.

It takes [some person] [some thing] [to do something]..

That means the person (him) needs to give a lot of lectures to explain Saussure.

It took me less than a minute to write this. = I needed less than a minute to write this.

and elucidate here means to explain.

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  • May be the verb 'elucidate' annoyed me. 1: In this sentence, sense subject of 'elucidate' is omitted, thus HE elucidated it. 2: In my dictionary, 'elucidate' has only direct object.{e.g.} elucidate a link between, elucidate the basis of, elucidate the roles of, ... Therefore, I suppose 'elucidate' is similar to 'indirect verb' and the action he took was for himself. "He managed to make himself understood the theories by taking a few lectures."
    – Kumas
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 20:56
  • or "He managed to solve the theories by taking a few lectures." m(_ _)m
    – Kumas
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 21:09
  • @Kumas, okay, you're reading is different from mine. But since he is elucidating, it seems natural that he was GIVING lectures, not TAKING them. It took the professor numerous lectures to elucidate his theories.
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 21:13
  • I am gradually approaching the point. \It took him numerous lectures to explain his or someone's theories. He had to lecture about the theories several times to make his students understand what they really mean. \By the way, it would take me 8 hours from now to acquire new energy. thank you.
    – Kumas
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 21:53
  • @Kumas, if you are in India, you are forgiven. :)
    – Lambie
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 21:55
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There's only one way to understand this.

"It takes [x] to do [y]" is a common way of stating a requirement to achieve an aim, for example:

  • It takes two people to lift this furniture
  • It takes three years to complete a degree

"It takes him a lot of lectures to explain the difficult theory" means that the theory cannot be explained in a single lecture - it requires "a lot".

It could be a suggestion that the lecturer takes longer than he should, but that would be clear in the context.

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  • It took ages to do that. It took him ages to do that. It took him ages for her to do that. ... In this topic sentence, the subject of the sentence appears only once. So, he attended a lot of lectures to solve the theories.
    – Kumas
    Commented Apr 29, 2021 at 21:05

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