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Learn the Difference Between “Imply” and “Infer”

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Many people get confused with the words “imply” and “infer” and end up using them incorrectly. We’ll go over what they mean and provide example sentences.

Infer vs Imply. We'll teach you the difference.
How to use “infer” and “imply” correctly
What’s the Difference Between “Infer” and “Imply”?

Imply means “to suggest something indirectly or without explicitly saying it,” whereas infer means “to come to a conclusion based on the available information.”

  • He implied that I was not qualified to lead the project.
  • Many experts have inferred the housing market is bound to crash soon.

Is It “Imply” or “Infer”?

Based on the data, we can infer that many people struggle to understand the difference between imply and infer. Both of these words are verbs, but they have different meanings, which we’ll elaborate on below.

What Does “Imply” Mean?

When someone implies something, it means they are indirectly stating or suggesting something. Here are a few example sentences:

Are you implying that I’m a liar?
Carol implied that Joseph wasn’t ready to proceed to the next step.
Her smile seemed to imply that she was happy with the agreement.

If you’re unsure whether you’re using this word properly, try replacing it with the verb (to) hint to see if the sentence conveys a similar message.

I implied that I wanted to go home.

I hinted that I wanted to go home.

What Does “Infer” Mean?

If the speaker implies something, then the listener infers—or comes to a conclusion—based on what was said.

We can infer from the findings that poverty levels have decreased.
The meaning of the poem must be inferred from the context.
Because everyone arrived late, the coaches inferred that there was a mistake on the invitations.

A synonym to infer can be deduce, which means “to arrive at a conclusion with reasoning.” If you’re ever unsure if you’re using infer correctly, try substituting it with deduce to see if the sentence still makes sense.

I read the statements and inferred that they were telling the truth.

I read the statements and deduced that they were telling the truth.

How To Remember the Difference Between “Imply” and “Infer”

When you’re trying to remember the difference between these two words, just think of imply and infer as two opposite sides of the same coin: If someone implies something, you can infer—or come to a conclusion—based on what was indirectly stated.

Imply and infer are just two of the seemingly endless number of words that people struggle to use correctly. If you want to ensure your writing is free of errors, use LanguageTool as your writing assistant. This spelling and grammar checker supports over 25 languages, and corrects all types of errors, resulting in pristine texts. Try it today.

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