Magnum Proofreading Blog | Imply or Infer?

Should I Use Imply or Infer?

 

Posted by Jake Magnum | March 1, 2018 | This or That?

 
Imply or Infer
While proofreading work for my clients, I have noticed that some writers are unaware of the difference between the words imply and infer.

The difference between the two is straightforward. To imply essentially means to suggest something. To infer means to draw a conclusion based on evidence.

The context will determine whether you should use imply or infer. Here are a few examples to clarify this.

Correct: As she shook his hand coldly, she bluntly said, “Well, it was nice meeting you, Bill,” implying that she would not be going out with him again.

Incorrect: As she shook his hand coldly, she bluntly said, “Well, it was nice meeting you, Bill,” inferring that she would not be going out with him again.

Correct: Her phone rang twice before going straight to voicemail. Bill inferred that she didn’t want to talk to him.

Incorrect: Her phone rang twice before going straight to voicemail. Bill implied that she didn’t want to talk to him.


Reference:

Hacker, D., & Sommers, N. (2012). A Canadian writer’s reference (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s.