imply and infer - the difference

The Quick Answer
To imply means to state indirectly.
To infer means to deduce.


The verb to imply means to state indirectly (i.e., to include a suggestion in a message).

  • His speech on transitioning to today's needs strongly implies that the typist pool will be made redundant.
  • Would I like a pack of mints?  What are you implying? I don't have bad breath, do I?


The verb to infer means to deduce (i.e., to extract a suggestion from a message).

  • The reader can easily infer that Sarah needs the money but is too proud to ask for charity.
  • Am I right to infer you think my team removed the safety valve? Is that what you're implying?

See Also

adverse or averse? affect or effect? appraise or apprise? avenge or revenge? bare or bear? complement or compliment? dependant or dependent? discreet or discrete? disinterested or uninterested? e.g. or i.e.? envy or jealousy? its or it's? material or materiel? poisonous or venomous? practice or practise? principal or principle? tenant or tenet? who's or whose?
What are adjectives? What are verbs? An or a? List of easily confused words