Imply Vs. Infer
You can hint. You can take a guess.
But you can't do both at the same time. That's the basic problem with thinking
that "imply" and "infer" are interchangeable. They're not.
To "imply" something is to actively
suggest it without coming right out and saying so.
To "infer" something is a much more
passive process. It can only take place in your mind. It's what you figure out,
or "infer," from what's in front of you.
So you can make an inference from an
implication, but it doesn't work the other way around.
He can imply something to you, and
you infer a conclusion based on what he said, suggested, gestured or showed
you. But you can't infer anything to anyone else but yourself.
Here's a little quiz:
- He (inferred / implied) from my
blue lips and chattering teeth that I was cold.
- There was no mistaking the
(implication / inference) of rising sales due to better ads.
- Are you trying to (imply /
infer) that we need to do this over again?
(Did you choose the first word each
time? Good! I infer that you get it!)
By Susan Darst Williams • www.GoBigEd.com • Grammar Granny
009 • © 2006