Writing for Business

May 1 2009   2:44PM GMT

Which is correct — imply or infer?

Ivy Wigmore Ivy Wigmore Profile: Ivy Wigmore

typing Which is correct?
The fact that the email had been deleted ______ that the evidence contained in it would have been damaging to the defendant.
a. implied
b. inferred

Answer: a

Explanation: To imply is to suggest something without stating it explicitly. To infer is to assume something that isn’t explicitly stated. A fact can imply something but only a person (or a smart animal) can infer something.

However, people can both imply and infer, so here’s another way to think about this one. If you’re the one who’s suggesting something (without coming right out and saying it), you’re implying. If you’re the one who thinks that someone else is suggesting something (without coming right out and saying it), you’re inferring.

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