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I see évidemment used often in French, but don't feel like I quite understand how (or if) it maps to what seem like differing connotations in the English translations. For example, from Wordreference it can mean:

  • obviously, clearly, of course
  • evidently
  • needless to say

I feel like obviously and evidently have quite different connotations in English. To say, "This or that is so, obviously" connotes that anyone who doesn't see this isn't paying attention or might even be dumb.

On the other hand, to say, "Evidently, this or that is so" says that there is evidence to back up this information, possibly you're noting a new development, but it doesn't connote that this was obvious.

Does évidemment more strongly indicate one of these or the other, or can it encompass both depending on the context?

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Évidemment means "obviously" and "needless to say".

I believe the confusion comes from the ambiguous evidence.

An évidence in French is something that doesn't need to be explained, an obviousness while the English evidence better translate to a French preuve.

I don't really know the nuance between "obviously" and "evidently" but according to your description, I would say that the closer translation of evidently would be de toute évidence.

Note that the duality of evidence was already present in Latin where the word evidentia meant either "what is easy to understand, obvious, unequivocal" or "what is clearly visible, what can be trusted."

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    Evidently carries the idea of "based on the proofs we've seen", so might be faux-amis. Agreed with obviously as a good option for évidemment. – Luke Sawczak Feb 3 '18 at 20:14
  • I think I am much closer to understanding the differences. So évidemment seems to describe something that is "self-evident" as we would say in English. This is something that is obvious and clearly visible without the need to explain. Merci ! – liquidki Feb 5 '18 at 1:50
  • A big plus for the reference to "de toute évidence" that perfectly translates the "evidently" – Nathan Feb 7 '18 at 13:09

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