Excuses are often used to deny responsibility. People make excuses when they feel attacked. They become defensive.
Explanations help clarify the circumstances of a particular event. Explanations are less emotional and less pressured than excuses
Consider the following situation:
Your 14-year-old daughter has brought home a failing grade on her science report. You ask her what happens. She says:
“It’s not my fault! The teacher wasn’t clear on what to include in the project. Everyone else got a bad grade, too.” or:
“I didn’t understand what the teacher said, and I was too embarrassed to ask for help.”
In her first reply, the daughter is immediately defensive and puts the blame on others. In the second example, she takes responsibility for what she did wrong, but explains the situation so her parent can understand the reasons behind the failing grade.