Clinicians have long recognized the enormous variability of recovery among patients with aphasia. Accordingly, the identification of specific factors most important in determining the extent of recovery has been the subject of many investigations. Yet, the reasons for two patients of the same age, nearly identical clinical presentations, and similar MRI findings having completely dissimilar recoveries are still unknown. It remains difficult for a clinician to make a valid prognosis of language recovery in an individual patient. This article provides a review of aphasia-recovery research and a framework for approaching the variability of recovery in clinical practice. Copyright © 2008 by Current Medicine Group LLC.