Make Your Editor Cry: Imply vs. Infer
To imply means to suggest something without saying it outright. To infer means to draw a conclusion from what someone else implies.
Both verbs have to do with the communication of information. But imply and infer are opposites.
Think of it this way. The verbs throw and catch could both have to do with a baseball, but they mean opposite things you do with the ball. The implier is the pitcher; the inferrer is the catcher.
To imply is to hint at something, but to infer is to make an educated guess. The speaker does the implying, and the listener does the inferring. As a general rule, the speaker/writer implies, and the listener/reader infers.
Try this. If you hand your friend a breath mint, you imply that your friend needs one. Your friend can infer that he has bad breath when you hand it to him.
Since they have no mind, things can imply but not infer. A chimney on the outside of a house implies that there is a fireplace inside. The house cannot infer it. It takes a conscious mind to infer.
Gregg Bridgeman is the Editor-in-Chief at Olivia Kimbrell Press. He is husband to best-selling Christian author Hallee Bridgeman and parent to three. He continues to proudly serve in the US Armed Forces and has done so in either an active or reserve capacity for more than twenty years as an airborne and air assault qualified paratrooper, earning a Bronze Star for his service. Most importantly, he was ordained in October of 2001 after surrendering his life to Christ decades earlier.