The English verbs imply and infer are often confused by English speakers. That’s not to imply that you’re one of them, but if that’s how you infer it, go ahead and read this lesson.
To imply means to suggest or to express something indirectly, rather than just coming out and saying it plainly:
The noun is implication.
(There’s also an unrelated meaning of involvement: His implication in the theft is grounds for dismissal.)
To infer means to read meaning into what was just said, to draw a conclusion from something that was not specifically stated:
The noun is inference.
The Bottom Line
Imply and infer are two sides of the same coin: a speaker or a writer implies, whereas a listener or reader infers, and for ease of remembering, these two actions occur in alphabetical order. First, I imply, and second, you infer. I’m not implying that you won’t make this mistake any more – I’m just coming right out and saying it. I hope you’re inferring the same thing. 🙂
More English Difficulties