Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age

Imply / Infer


These two words are too often used interchangeably, but they are completely different in meaning. "Imply" means to suggest or to indicate; "infer" involves a person actively applying deduction:

Water droplets accumulating on the outside of a cold glass of water can imply a hot humid day.

We can infer that Stonehenge was an early calendar.

Another way to look at it: We can substitute "suggest" for "imply" and "reason" for "infer," still retaining the correct meaning.