A recurrent problem I have with the word やはり (also やっぱり) is that when I apply the various standard definitions for this word, I end up with translations that are quite different from each other, and I don't know how to decide which of these translations most fairly represents the original.

To see what I mean, suppose A and B are chatting about a common acquaintance C. At some point, A claims that he/she (A) would have acted differently from how C is acting. In reply, B explains away A's claim by pointing out that A's and C's life situations are completely different.

Now, suppose that at this point A replies to B like this:

もし自分がCの立場だったと仮定したら、やはりそうするだろう。 (❶)

One possible translation, based on interpreting as やはり as "still, as before", would render ❶ as A's rebuttal of what B said:

If I were in C's position, I would still act that way [i.e. the way I said before, and differently from the way C is acting].

On the other hand, a translation of ❶ based on a different meaning of やはり would render it as A's concession of B's point:

If I were in C's position, I would, as one would expect, act that way [i.e. the same way C is acting].

Furthermore, in a context slightly different from the one I sketched above, I can imagine A offering the following by way of summation:

If I were in C's position, I would, after all [apparent differences notwithstanding], act that way [i.e. the way C is acting].

Of course, I realize that what seems reasonable to my non-native ear may very well strike native speakers as way off. In other words, it could be that, contrary to what I just wrote, at most one (and maybe none!) of the translations above corresponds to the way a native speaker would understand sentence ❶.

So, to be specific: Which of the translations above is/are possible? Which is/are likely? What's the basis for the difference? Is yet another translation distinctly better than all the ones proposed above?

  • 4
    In all three of your different renderings of やはり, the key is not やはり, but rather the context, and whether the そう in そうするだろう refers to "like A said" or "like C does". Commented Dec 2, 2022 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


Hopefully the following helps clarify some of your doubts although it may not directly answer your questions.

still vs. after all

I think these two are mostly the same (大辞泉 #3) and it is a matter of translation (and contexts).

  • Apple製品は高価だが、自分はやはり好きだ.
  • Apple products are expensive, but I still like it.

Here I think using after all doesn't change the meaning (or you could even say I still like it after all).

If the context suggests:

  • The speaker likes Apple despite their ripping off, still may be better;
  • The speaker tried other brands, after all may be more precise.

It may depend also on the nature/tense/aspect of the verb (好き in this case) which of still and after all is better.

as expected

This also isn't totally distinct from still/after all, but one thing is that usually the speaker also expects it, so in the case of your example

  • If I were in C's position, I would, as one would expect, act that way

is off in a strict sense (at least from my understanding of the translation). I would do it as I expect it makes little sense.

A more ordinary example would be:

  • 彼は忙しいと言っていたがやはり今日の会合に来なかった
  • He said he was busy and, as expected, he didn't come to today's meeting.

Here it is possible that やはり means after all, e.g. in case the speaker didn't think he was that busy. (Another point: probably using still is difficult here.)

  • 2
    Thank you! Just to clarify: "as one would expect" does not mean "as I expect it", but rather "as anyone would expect it." In the translation I provided it is meant to say that what is about to follow in the sentence would certainly be obvious/natural/self-evident/unsurprising etc to the listener, and to anyone else for that matter.
    – kjo
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 15:20
  • 2
    "He didn't come to today's meeting as expected" means "He was expected to come to today's meeting, but he didn't." To translate your final example, you need to change the word order: "He said he was busy, and as expected, he didn't come to today's meeting." (If you don't want to repeat the subject, you can say "He said he was busy and, as expected, didn't come to today's meeting." (Some may claim you can fix the original sentence just by adding a comma: "He said he was busy, and didn't come to today's meeting, as expected." However, that is awkward and remains somewhat ambiguous.)
    – Nanigashi
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 16:29
  • @kjo OK. My point is that as one would expect does not sound (to me) one including the speaker and is off as a translation of やはり. If you meant as anyone (incl. me) expects, again it should be close to the after all sense.
    – sundowner
    Commented Dec 3, 2022 at 22:42

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