“Imply” vs. “Infer”: Learn The Difference July 22, 2022 Infer Vs. Imply Inferred Vs. Implied Examples The difference between infer and imply can be confusing enough, so we’re going to skip the subtle hints and just come right out and explain it. In this article, we’ll explain the distinction between infer and imply, note how their meanings can sometimes overlap, provide examples of how they’re used, and even cover the adjective forms inferred and implied. ⚡ Quick summaryThe verbs imply and infer are often used at opposite ends of the same situation. Imply means to “to indicate or suggest something without actually stating it,” and infer commonly means “to guess or use reasoning to come to a conclusion based on what has been suggested.” So, you can infer the meaning of something that has been implied. Infer can also more generally mean “to draw a conclusion based on evidence,” regardless of whether something has been implied. And due to the association between the words, infer is sometimes used to mean the same thing as imply. infer vs. imply The verb imply means “to indicate or suggest something without actually stating it.” The verb infer commonly means “to guess or use reasoning to come to a conclusion based on what has been suggested.” As you can see from these definitions, imply and infer are often used in the same context. And that’s why they can be confused—because they’re often used at opposite ends of the same situation. When someone implies something (suggests it without saying it explicitly), you have to infer their meaning (conclude what they mean based on the hints that have been given). Learn about the difference between explicit and implicit with our guide. For example, you might infer that your friend wants cake for their birthday because they keep talking about how much they like cake and reminding you that their birthday is coming up. Your friend didn’t actually ask for cake, but they implied that they want it by giving you hints. You used these hints to infer that they want cake. Infer can also more generally mean “to derive by reasoning; conclude or judge from premises or evidence.” This means there are situations in which you might infer something when nothing was implied or nothing was intended to be implied. For example: Based on these markings, researchers have inferred the approximate age of the artifact. Probably due to the association between the two words, infer is sometimes used to mean the same thing as imply—to hint or suggest. Even though this can be confusing, the meaning of infer can usually be easily inferred from the context in which it’s used. Go Behind The Words! Get the fascinating stories of your favorite words in your inbox. CommentsThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. inferred vs. implied The same distinctions between infer and imply applies to their past tense (and past participle) form. Implied is perhaps more likely to be used as an adjective, as in an implied meaning. An implied meaning is one that’s hinted at or subtly suggested—rather than being stated outright or directly. Still, inferred can also be used as an adjective meaning “derived by reasoning or concluded from evidence.” And, just like how infer is sometimes used to mean the same thing as imply, inferred is sometimes used to mean the same thing as implied. Examples of imply and infer used in a sentence Here are examples of how imply and infer are typically used in sentences. He implied he was going to quit, but I don’t believe he’ll do it. The spokesperson’s statements seemed to imply that the senator would resign. I implied that I was upset, and she correctly inferred why. Please don’t make me infer what’s wrong—just tell me. I used the context clues to infer the meaning of the text. Given this information, we can infer the logical conclusion. Understand the difference between interpolation and extrapolation here.