I have recently came across the word "verständlicherweise", like in the following sentences:

  • Die Freude über das Wiedersehen war verständlicherweise groß.
  • Die Diagnose hat sein Leben verständlicherweise zutiefst erschüttert.
  • Jeder mit kleinen Kindern bevorzugt verständlicherweise eine Teilzeitarbeit.

I am aware of the different meanings & usages of "selbstverständlich", so my question is: wouldn't "selbstverständlich" convey the same meaning in those examples?

  • 2
    I'm not sure this couldn't be answered with a dictionary. Per Wiktionary, "verständlicherweise" = "understandably", "selbstverständlich" = "naturally".
    – RDBury
    Commented Aug 1, 2022 at 21:42
  • @RDBury "selbstverständlich" means naturally, obviously, certainly etc, and all of these sounded acceptable (to me) in the examples I listed. I couldn't find a sentence where "verständlicherweise" can't be replaced with "selbstverständlich". Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 1:28
  • The meanings are similar, but I don't see why the different English translations wouldn't explain the difference. "You are, understandably, afraid of tigers." is different than "You are, naturally, afraid of tigers." I'm not a native speaker so there may be some subtlety in the meaning that I'm not aware of, but the dictionary definitions are different. Is there something about them you still don't understand? If so. you should include that in the question.
    – RDBury
    Commented Aug 2, 2022 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


Verständlicherweise (as does the English translation understandably) means, that you can agree after having thought about it or having taken the viewpoint.

Selbstverständlich (obviously being a close counterpart) means, that no effort is required after being given the facts.

In your first example selbstverständlich would be too strong in my opinion: We all know people, where an encounter provides limited joy. Likewise in the second example: Quite a few diagnoses can be somewhat ugly without being shocking. Even in the third example the gain of time has to be set in relation to the decrease in salary; so consideration is required.

Summarized: in all cases verständlicherweise seems the better choice (in absence of further details).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.