My dictionary defines „einschätzen“ as „in bestimmter Weise beurteilen“.

Am I justified in assuming, then, that there really is no difference between „einschätzen“ and „beurteilen“, and that they can be used interchangeably?

Is there any situation in which this is not true?

3 Answers 3


"Beurteilen" is often way more conclusive and authoritative.

Der Schüler kann seine Leistung einschätzen, der Lehrer muss sie beurteilen.

It may be worth stressing, "Beurteilen" has "Urteil" in it. "Urteil", in its most fundamental occurrence, means "verdict". Hence, when verdicts and formal evaluations are concerned, it is strongly preferred.

Ich kann nicht einschätzen, wie der Chef mich in seinem Report beurteilt.

The nearly "reverse" sentence,

Ich kann nicht beurteilen, wie der Chef mich einschätzt ,

would mostly be read to refer to the superior's unvoiced opinion.

Furthermore, I would always be happy to give an "Einschätzung" of any stock on my watch list, but I would caution and hesitate more, before voicing a "Beurteilung". If someone asks for an "Einschätzung", I feel entitled to include much more subjectivity or gut feeling. Yet, many people don't make such a difference.


I guess they mostly can be used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same.

Einschätzen contains the word estimate, so it doesn't sound as definitely as a Beurteilung. After someone had a test and doesn't know his result yet, it would be more natural to ask:

Wie schätzt Du Dein Ergebnis ein?

than "Wie beurteilst Du Dein Ergebnis?" - because you normally would want to know the results before you beurteilen it. On the other hand, if you already know the results and someone asks "Wie schätzt Du Dein Ergebnis ein?" - he probably wants to know your thoughts about how well you did compared to others. So Einschätzen could also imply a comparison or maybe a ranking.

If you participate in a race, you could get asked before it starts:

Wie schätzt Du Dich ein?

meaning what you think how you will do compared to the others. You would not get asked "Wie beurteilst Du Dich?" It would have to be something like

Wie beurteilst Du Deine Chancen?

Generally, I think beurteilen is not often used for persons. You would einschätzen people, but normally not beurteilen. You would beurteilen their efforts, their results, their achievements, but probably not themselves as persons. But I guess nobody would cringe if you would use it.

Last but not least, there's 1 meaning of einschätzen which can never be replaced with beurteilen and this is in context of taxes. The tax office can make a Einschätzung for you and this is a fixed term.

  • Beurteilen is used for persons. teacher -> student, employer -> employee, etc. Beurteilung is the noun used twice a year when performance is certificated in school ;)
    – user22338
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:18

"Einschatzen" is to "value" or "estimate". This has positive, or at least neutral connotations.

"Beurteilen" is to "judge." This has more critical, or negative connotations.

When "einschätzen“ is „ein bestimmter Weise beurteilen“, the "bestimmter Weise" is a more "positive" way or Weise of beurteilen.

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