While at work one day I overheard my boss on the phone asking “Is that what she’s inferring?” I knew she meant implying, but I didn’t want to embarrass her by correcting her.
So, in order to save you any potential embarrassment, here’s the difference:
To imply is to hint at something – “He implied that he had his doubts.” (Past tense: implied)
To infer is to make a conclusion – “From what was written, I was able to infer that it was more political than it seemed.” (Past tense: inferred)
An easy way to remember these is the speaker (or writer) implies; the listener (or reader) infers.
Try not to mix these up as that can really make the narrative stumble.
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Christine – Guest blogger