Difference Between Imply and Infer

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: June 06, 2023

       

Difference Between Imply and Infer

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Introduction

Many words in the English language can make it difficult for a speaker or listener to understand what they mean. Although they frequently appear to be interchangeable, these words actually have very different meanings when they are used in sentences. This article will discuss the terms "Imply" and "Infer," which occasionally cause users to become perplexed. Due to the interconnectedness of their meanings, the two most perplexing words in the English language—imply and infer—are those that people frequently use synonymously. There is a big distinction between imply and infer even though both verbs deal with communicating something indirectly.

When we employ the word "imply" in a phrase, we're implying something rather than outright stating it. In other terms, implying refers to the practice of presenting ideas indirectly. The speaker or writer is the one who makes the implication. The interpretation of the information depends on the reader or listener.

For Ex-

  • Our teacher implied in her lecture that it is important for the exam.              
  • The data implies that the company can go bankrupt.             
  • The director implies that the actors are not performing according to the script.

While we use ‘Infer’ we refer to concluding or deducing something from facts and logic as opposed to explicit claims. Making a rational assumption can be described as the act of inferring. In some ways, this is the exact reverse of implying something. Readers and listeners can deduce some facts from the implied meanings that speakers and writers occasionally use. Reading between the lines and concluding something that isn't being communicated explicitly in speech or writing is called ‘to infer’.

For Ex-

  • The detectives inferred from his behavior that he might be a criminal.              
  • We can infer from your result that you gave your best.              
  • The readers can infer the writing style of the author from this book.

Imply vs Infer

The key difference to remember between ‘Imply’ and ‘Infer’ is that- ‘Imply’ means to suggest something or to express something indirectly. In sentences, it is frequently used to express a human subject. It relies on the communication approach used by the speaker as to what and how they want the listeners to "Imply" and "understand." Whereas, ‘Infer’ means to come to a conclusion or deduce a result based on something logical. It depends on the implication made by someone and also on the understanding or perception of the reader.

For Ex-

  • I didn’t mean to imply that your math is weak.              
  • My mother implied that she can’t come today as she is busy.

For Ex-

  • I inferred from your presentation that you are working on social issues.             
  • You should re-read the text to infer its real meaning.

Difference Between Imply and Infer in Tabular Form

Parameters of comparisonImplyInfer
DefinitionInstead of declaring anything directly, to ‘imply’ signifies suggesting something through one's actions or other means.To infer is to draw a conclusion or draw a deduction rather than making a direct statement based on the data and logic.
Completed byThe speaker or author of the action performs it.As it depends on their comprehension and how they interpret the action by the speaker, it is done by the listener or reader.
Main Function ofThe primary intent of the sender is to 'implicitly' suggest action in their message.It depends on the receiver and how they perceive the sender's message.
Noun formImplicationInference
ExamplesWhat are you trying to imply I am not able to understand?Our boss implies that Sneha is one of the best employees.Increasing pollution levels implies more health problems.His luxury products imply he is from a well-off background.Our boss inferred from our presentation that we were not prepared well.You can infer your grades from your performance.My friends inferred that I won’t be able to come due to my illness.What do you infer from this workshop?

What is ‘Imply’?

To imply is to communicate something to the other person without actually expressing it. This communication can be a thought, emotion, opinion, recommendation, or idea. When a speaker, writer, or performer conveys an ambiguous meaning through their words or body language, we use the word ‘imply’.  It is used as a transitive verb in a sentence. For Ex- If someone says they are not in the mood to eat or they are full it can imply that they are not hungry at that moment or they don’t want to eat right now. The implication of anything mainly depends on how the speaker or writer is conveying the message to the readers.

Examples-

  • Sharon implied that she needed a vacation as she is feeling down lately.
  • Their fancy cars implied that they are wealthy and fond of cars.
  • The boss implied that the employees are being less productive day by day which is hampering the company’s reputation.
  • Our teacher implied that she loves teaching our class as the students are very attentive.
  • The news channel used big font for the breaking news to imply its seriousness to the public.
  • This year’s company report implies that the sales were less than last year.
  • She implied that she needed to reach the airport early for her flight.
  • He implied that my work was not up to the mark.
  • Our professor’s facial expressions implied that he was not happy with the class results.
  • Are you implying that I am weak and lazy?
  • The increase in sales of a product implies that the customers are satisfied with it.
  • If an artist is famous, it implies that people can connect with them or like their work.
  • If you do not complete your work on time, it implies that you are lazy or like to procrastinate.
  • If a song is famous, it implies that the public is liking it.
  • The weather report implies heavy rainfall for the next 5 days in the northern region.
  • Even though she looks happy but her action implies something else.
  • The Prime Minister implies that he would fulfill all the promises he made to the public when the time comes.
  • Jatin implied that he doesn’t like his current job and wants to do something else.
  • The student’s body language implies that he/she is nervous for the exam.
  • She implied that she is leaving the country soon but I think she was lying.
  • The market prices imply an increase in sales for the merchants and rural farmers as suggested by the government.
  • Rahul implied that he was going to cut his hair.
  • I don’t mean to imply something negative about you.

What is ‘Infer’?

When we use the phrase 'infer' we mean to create an opinion, assume something as given, or come to a conclusion based on the information, facts, premises, and evidence that is accessible to you. The word "infer" is used when someone picks up or intercepts a communication from another person and draws conclusions from it. The reader or viewer commonly infers the meaning of a statement based on their viewpoint or prior knowledge of what has been said by the writer or sender.

In a sentence, it can also be used as a transitive verb. For ex- In a movie, a director may leave the climax open-ended and it is up to the viewers how they want to infer the ending based on their understanding of that movie, scenes, or the characters. In this case, the director implies whereas the audiences are left to infer its meaning.

Examples-

  • What should I infer from this information?
  • Our boss inferred that the sales are increasing from the report we issued this month.
  • My doctor inferred that I might have a chronic disease from my reports.
  • From your behavior, I am inferring that you are annoyed.
  •  Our teacher inferred our grades to be poor from our performance in the exams.
  • From my mother’s angry tone, I can infer that I am in trouble.
  • What do you infer from this question?
  • From this survey, it can be inferred that one of the reasons for poverty is the lack of resources available for people in rural areas.
  • From the results, we can infer that 60% of students scored more than average marks.
  • With the increasing population, we can infer that there might be problems.
  • After seeing the accident in front of my eyes, I can infer that the victim got severely injured.
  • What do you infer from this year’s financial budget?
  • We are not able to infer what you are trying to say.
  • The readers inferred what the author tried to convey through his writings.
  • The scientists inferred the presence of harmful viruses through this lab test.
  • By the way, they are talking to each other we can infer that they are not on good terms.
  • Alexa was frowning all day so we inferred that she was not feeling her best or was in a bad mood.
  • John loves to visit museums so we can infer that he is interested in history or art.
  • She made a bad expression while eating that burger thus we inferred that she didn’t like it.
  • As she was packing a suitcase, so we inferred that she might be going on a vacation soon.
  • We infer from this experiment that the boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius.
  • We are trying to infer a positive message through this campaign.
  • Leela inferred he was unhappy by his mood swings.

Main Differences between Imply and Infer (in points)

  • The basic difference between the words ‘Imply’ and ‘Infer’ is that with the verb "imply," you can suggest or hint at something without saying it completely. On the other hand, the verb ‘infer’ means to draw a conclusion or attempt a guess based on the data and reasoning rather than making outright comments.
  • When we use the word ‘Imply’ it refers to the speaker, writer, or the one who is doing the action of conveying the message. Whereas, when we use the word ‘Infer’ it refers to the one who receives that message which is being implied such as the reader, viewer, or listener of the action.
  • ‘Imply’ refers to the sender of the message while ‘Infer’ refers to the receiver of that message and how they interpret it based on their understanding.
  • Examples of ‘Imply’-
    • The teacher implied that students should finish their assignments on time.                                     
    • The author implied a twist in the plot of the story.                                     
    • I was not able to understand what my boss was implying.
  • Examples of ‘Infer’-
    • From this report we can infer the condition of children in rural areas and the lack of education.                                   
    • What should we infer from this article?                                  
    • Are you able to infer what I am trying to imply?

Conclusion

English can be a confusing language sometimes. Many words with almost similar or complex meanings thus confusing the writers with how to use them in a sentence or native speakers while conversing. Thus, it is important to understand the correct use of such words to avoid any errors in your writing or speaking. This article gives you an overview of the words ‘Imply’ and ‘Infer’, their basic definitions, key differences in the form of a table and in points along with various examples to understand the distinction between these terms in a sentence.

When we use the term "imply" in a statement, we wish to imply or convey something subtly without actually stating it. The speaker offers an implication for the message.

For Ex-

  • John is trying to imply that he loves rom-com movies.             
  • Our boss is implying that we should focus more on the upcoming project.

When we use the verb 'infer' in a sentence, we mean to draw a conclusion or make a deduction based on the evidence at hand and logical justification. In this instance, it is up to the spectator or reader to understand the message and apply logic or understanding to it.

For Ex-

  • From the results of this semester, we can infer that the students didn’t  study well.             
  • What do you infer from this show?

References

  1. https://writingexplained.org/imply-vs-infer-difference  
  2. https://www.scribbr.com/commonly-confused-words/infer-vs-imply/
  3. https://www.dictionary.com/e/imply-vs-infer/  
  4. https://webapps.towson.edu/ows/implyinfer.htm  
  5. https://www.really-learn-english.com/imply-vs-infer.html

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"Difference Between Imply and Infer." Diffzy.com, 2024. Mon. 17 Jun. 2024. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-imply-and-infer>.



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