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infer, imply - vocabulary

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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verb

Infer: to derive by reasoning, to conclude or judge from evidence or premises.

Imply: to suggest or indicate a conclusion without its being explicitly stated; to involve as a necessary circumstance, as in speech implies a speaker.

Note: Infer is sometimes confused with imply, but the distinction is a useful one. When we say that a speaker or sentence implies something, we mean that it is conveyed or suggested without being stated outright: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a business tax increase, she implied (not inferred) that some taxes might be raised. Inference, on the other hand, is the activity performed by a reader or interpreter in drawing conclusions that are not explicit in what is said: When the mayor said that she would not rule out a tax increase, we inferred that she had been consulting with some new financial advisers, since her old advisers were in favor of tax reductions.

Dictionary.reference.com/browse/infer

Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses infer and imply. Click here for that discussion.

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