How Apparent Works

Apparent is an adjective frequently used in the modern lexicon. People use "apparent" or "apparently" frequently in everyday life—it has been reduced to a colloquialism to an extent. Part of this, however, is because of how applicable it is to almost any situation. If something is apparent, it's because there is evidence as part of a strange kind of unspoken argument rather than undeniable fact. Apparent is an assumption based on something that seems like a reasonable fact.

If something is apparent in a business setting, however, there are higher stakes involved. The company's managers need to take countermeasures against a negative influence. Context is important when measuring the intended seriousness of the term.

Example of Apparent

Let's say that you are at work, sitting at your desk. A colleague drops by for a chat, just pleasantries and a little bit of office gossip. You ask them about whether or not so-and-so was in a bad mood yesterday. Your colleague replies, "Apparently! Everyone I've spoken to said she was in an awful mood and that she left early without letting anyone know or even clocking off."

Your colleague refers to the "apparent" because of the fact that this is, ultimately, an assumption based on some evidence or an argument. Of course, it is still possible that so-and-so was not in a bad mood yesterday. Perhaps your colleague is emphasizing certain details of the story or has misremembered what they heard. What they said would still make sense, though, because they said that so-and-so's mood was "apparent."

Another example of "apparent" comes in the form of obvious evidence. A colleague presenting a quarterly financial report may report an apparent drop in sales. This apparent drop is represented with facts and figures. Another colleague could then go on to say that it is apparent that the company may be experiencing a slump in the market. The use of apparent here is based on an argument and evidence that you can't see. It is more of an educated guess.

Apparent vs. True

In a casual setting, if something is a fact, it would not make sense for you to say that it is the case "apparent." It is simply true; definite. However, if there is some evidence you are referring to in a professional setting, then it is fair to describe the fact as apparent.

On the flip side, there is an interesting differentiation between something apparent and something that is true. The paradoxical fact is, something which is apparent may not be true. Though we use the word almost exclusively to refer to things that are true in the modern working vocabulary, the word denotes that this statement may not be the whole or absolute truth.

In a similar way to how we use "apparently" to convey the fact that a person does not "have all the facts" or is reporting on something they have heard from another unreliable source, "apparently" refers to things that are ostensible, evident.