If you’ve ever found yourself lost in translation, unsure if you’re implying something or inferring it, then this blog is for you. Learn the nuanced difference between imply vs. infer, and implement your learnings with some relevant examples from this blog.
What does imply mean?
To imply something means to suggest or hint at something without directly stating it. It can be the act of conveying an idea, thought, or message indirectly or implicitly, without expressing it explicitly. It often involves subtle or indirect language that leaves the listener or reader to infer or draw conclusions from the implications. In research, this could refer to a finding that suggests a certain outcome or a result that points towards a particular conclusion. For example, a study might imply that a certain intervention is effective in treating a particular condition, without explicitly stating this conclusion.
What does infer mean?
To infer something means to draw a conclusion or make an educated guess based on evidence or clues. In research, this could refer to the process of drawing conclusions from data or making assumptions based on observed patterns or relationships. For example, a researcher might infer that a certain intervention is effective based on the results of a study.
Difference between imply and infer
The key difference between the usage of imply vs. infer is that imply refers to the speaker or writer suggesting something, while infer refers to the listener or reader drawing a conclusion based on evidence or clues. In other words, imply is an action performed by the communicator, while infer is an action performed by the recipient of the communication.
Imply vs. infer examples
Here are a few examples to illustrate the difference between imply and infer in a research context:
- The results of the study imply that the new treatment is effective. (The study suggests that the treatment is effective.)
- Based on the results of the study, we can infer that the new treatment is effective. (We can conclude that the treatment is effective based on the study results.)
- The data implies that there is a correlation between two variables. (The data suggests that there is a correlation.)
- From the data, we can infer that there is a correlation between two variables. (We can draw a conclusion that there is a correlation based on the data.)
In conclusion, there is a fine line between the two words and their usage is often interchanged. As a researcher, being able to use these terms correctly will help you to communicate your findings clearly and avoid confusion or misinterpretation.