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Category: Common mistakes

Infer and Imply: Meaning and usage with examples

It’s a fairly common mistake for people learning english to mix up verb pairs like learn and teach, give and take, lend and borrow, or throw and catch, where the verb you use changes depending on whether you are describing the start of an interaction or the completion of an interaction. But there’s a pair of verbs that even many native English speakers get wrong: imply and infer.

Definitions of infer and imply

These verbs describe subtly communicating or understanding information. If I imply something, I am trying to communicate it without actually saying it. For example, if a friend asks me a direct question:

“Is the coffee good here?”

I might answer indirectly:

“They’re not known for great coffee.”