Difference Between Imply and Infer

Main Difference – Imply vs. Infer

Though Imply and infer are words with opposite meanings, they are two verbs that often confuse many English speakers. Both these verbs deal with indirectly expressing a fact, yet there is a significant difference between imply and infer. To imply is to express something indirectly whereas to infer is to make an educated guess. This can be defined as the main difference between imply and infer. Since these words have opposite meanings, they cannot be used interchangeably.

Imply – Meaning and Usage

To imply is to indicate the truth or existence of something by suggestion rather than explicit reference. In other words, implying refers to the act of expressing something indirectly. It is the speaker or writer that implies something. It is up to the reader or listener to interpret the information. For example, you might imply that it’s time for your guest to leave by saying that it’s very late, and you have to get up early the next morning.

He implied in his speech that he is considering changing his political party.

The report implies that this new project is a failure.

He used technical terms to imply that he is proficient in the field.

The writer implies that the protagonist is not happy with the social restrictions in the Victorian England.

Main Difference - Imply vs Infer

Smile implies happiness.

Infer – Meaning and Usage

To infer is to deduce or conclude something from evidence and logic rather than from explicit statements. In simple terms inferring is making an educated guess. This can be viewed as the opposite of implying. A speaker or writer might imply something, and readers and listeners can infer some facts from these implications. Inferring is reading between the lines and deducing something that is not directly expressed in the speech or writing.

Infer is often followed by the preposition from. Given below are some sentences that use this verb.

The police inferred from his behavior that he is involved in the crime.

The author does not directly state that she commits suicide, but the readers can infer it from the last paragraph.

We can infer from this experiment  that Helium has a low boiling point.

Difference Between Imply and Infer

By looking at the way this couple is seated, we can infer that they have quarreled.

Difference Between Imply and Infer

The two words imply and infer are like two sides of the same coin. They can refer to two perspectives of the same situation: the perspective of the speaker and perspective of the listener. For example,

He implied that he was no longer happy with her.

She inferred from his words that he was no longer happy with her.

In both these instances, no direct communication can be seen. Implying is indirectly expressing. Inferring is understanding what is indirectly said.

The difference between imply and infer can be summarized as below.

Meaning

To Imply is to express something indirectly.

To Infer is to deduce or conclude something from evidence and reasoning.

Person

Implying is done by speakers and writers.

Inferring is done by listeners and readers.

Noun

Implication is the noun of Imply.

Inference is the noun of Infer.Difference Between imply and infer - infographic

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