Practical English. Lesson 29: Imply and Infer

Imply and infer are often misused and confused. Imply and infer are actually almost opposites.

To imply is to suggest something indirectly. Both people and things can imply.

  • The use of some Keynesian terms by Treasury officials does not imply the acceptance of Keynes’s precepts.
  • When she said, “I will think about it” with a wink, she seemed to imply a positive answer in the future.

To infer is to gather, deduce, or figure out from given information.

  • Are we to infer from the texts that the pupils do not understand the differences between right and wrong?
  • This was used to infer values of the Census variables for households which never returned a form.

The speaker or writer implies, while the listener or reader infers.

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Practical English Usage Lesson 29 Imply and infer -