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What is the exact difference bewteen явно and ясно? Can they be used totally equivalent?

For instance

Явно, что холодно в Антарктике.
Ясно, что холодно в Антарктике.

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No, they are not equivalent. Though both words mean "It's clear that..." the usage is different:

You can say: Он явно этого ожидал, but not Он ясно этого ожидал (however it's possible to say Ясно, что он этого ожидал).

Это явное нарушение - is correct, Это ясное нарушение - is not (the correct usage is Ясно, что это нарушение).

You can say: Я ясно выразился? but not Я явно выразился?

In your example the better way to write is:

В Антарктике явно холодно.

Ясно, что холодно в Антарктике. (your example is correct here)

UPD: @botichelli's answer gives a good hint on явно/ясно placement in the sentence.

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"явно" - it's the synonym for word "obvious" "очевидно" and "ясно" - it's like "can be understood", but it may be not obvious.

In your question it's better to use "ясно". "явно" is rare used in the beginning of a phrase. It usually goes together with the statement. "В Антарктике явно холодно".

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I'd say the closest equivalent of явно is "evidently". Thus it's different from ясно in that явно points to an inference of a fact that isn't observed directly, or even necessarily known with certainty to the speaker.

Thus it's hard to imagine someone saying В Антарктике явно холодно precisely because it's an established fact. A more likely example (paradoxical as it sounds) would be В Атлантиде явно холодно — something you'd say if the continent of Atlantis were to re-emerge overnight and turn out to be really far north. And, as people have pointed out, you can't say *явно, что. There's a (very bookish/formal) verb явствовать "to be evident" which is used in this sense (always impersonally, and never on its own without any references): Из этого явствует, что...

Ясно is "clearly" and, as such, doesn't need explaining. Just a note on word order: it's Ясно, что в Антарктике холодно rather than что холодно в Антарктике, unless you specifically want to say "It's clear that Antarctica is the place where it's cold".

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  • I should add 'explicitly' as one of the possible translations of 'явно'.
    – ach
    Apr 21, 2015 at 10:12
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Явно cannort be used with что. The phrase

Явно, что холодно в Антарктике.

is ungrammatical.

Without что it is grammatical,

Явно холодно в Антарктике.

Although the meaning is quite strange, it looks like sarcasm.

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The closest equivalent to "ясно" is "clear". Usually any sentence with "ясно" can be directly translated with "clear" while keeping word order (and vice versa, except the Russian sentence often lacks equivalents to "that's", "it's" and so on). So nothing really special here. BTW, if you really mean "it's obvious", rather than "it's clear", the better translation would be "очевидно", not "ясно".

But "явно" originates from the word "явь" which roughly means "reality". So it badly suits your example as you are probably talking about the place where you have never been. But if you have just stepped upon the frosty ground and beaten in your icy hands, saying "Явно, что в Антарктике холодно" would be perfectly OK.

P.S. Considering word order in "В Антарктике явно холодно" vs "Явно, что в Антарктике холодно". The first construction roughly means "in Antarctica it's a reality that..." while the second "it's a reality (here and now) that in Antarctica..." This is why the second one usually sounds as mistake.

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