In this blog post we look at when to use infer and when to use imply.
"Imply" and "infer" are related but distinct terms that refer to the communication of information or meaning.
"Imply" means to suggest something without saying it directly, like a hint.
For example, "His tone of voice implied that he was angry" means that the speaker's tone suggested or hinted that he was angry, without him directly saying it.
"Infer" means to figure out something by using the information you have, like making a conclusion from a clue.
For example, "From his words, I inferred that he was unhappy" means that the listener deduced or came to the conclusion that the speaker was unhappy from his words.
In summary, "imply" is something said or done that gives an indication of something else, "infer" is the act of deducing or understanding something from the indication provided by the former.
A simple example to demonstrate the difference between “infer” and “imply” could be:
"I imply that I am hungry" (suggesting without saying it directly)
"I infer that you are hungry from the way you're looking at the food" (figuring it out by using the information you have)
Here are some more examples to illustrate the difference between “infer” and “imply”:
"She implied that she doesn't want to go to the concert, but didn't say it outright." (suggesting without saying it directly)
"I inferred from her tone that she was angry with me." (figuring it out by using the information you have)
"The teacher implied that the test would be easy." (suggesting without saying it directly)
"I inferred from the teacher's review of the material that the test would be difficult." (figuring it out by using the information you have)
"The company's actions imply they are cutting costs." (suggesting without saying it directly)
"I inferred from the company's financial reports that they were in financial trouble." (figuring it out by using the information you have)
I inferred from her tone of voice that she was angry.
The detective inferred that the suspect had fled the country.
She inferred that the meeting had been cancelled by the lack of attendees.
He inferred from the data that the project was not going well.
They inferred that the cause of the accident was human error.
I inferred from the note that he was in trouble.
The witness inferred that the thief was tall from the description.
She inferred that the company was in financial trouble from the layoffs.
He inferred that the company was going to be acquired from the rumors.
They inferred that the experiment was a success from the results.
The statement implied that he was guilty.
Her actions implied that she was hiding something.
The advertisement implied that the product was the best on the market.
His words implied that he did not trust her.
The company's financial reports imply that they are struggling to keep the business afloat.
The graph implies a trend of increasing profits.
The teacher's tone of voice implied that he was disappointed in the student's performance.
His behavior implied that he was not interested in the job.
The silence implied that the answer was no.
The employee's demeanor implied that he was having a bad day.