I believe that both of these adverbs are used to express "must" in assumptions. I wonder if they're completely synonymous, or if one carries a different set of semantic nuances from the other?

Наверняка/вероятно вчера с Андреем что-то случилось.

Something must've happened to Andrey yesterday.

(... he never showed up, etc.)

  • 1
    – Anixx
    Jun 5, 2014 at 14:09
  • 1
    "Наверняка" is also more colloquial. Jun 6, 2014 at 5:14

3 Answers 3


The exact meaning of the words are as Vi said, one shows a high probability and the other a certainty. In usage, however, they are both used to express the same concept but, Наверняка is colloquial while Вероятно is more literary.

  • Thank you for that clarification - that's the pivotal point I was looking for :)
    – CocoPop
    Jun 6, 2014 at 17:15
  • "Вероятно" is like "probably" or "likely";
  • "Наверняка" is like "for sure".

If the statement about Andrew's calamities is expected to be overestimated (i.e. a mother which always worries about her son), "наверняка" may sound better.


It might be added that until (I believe) around the early XXth century "наверное" meant "certainly" whereas today by some reason "наверно" seems to be more towards "вероятно" than "наверняка"

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