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The World Law Dictionary Project

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e.g. principle, consideration, jurisdiction
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infer verb


to understand something by evidence or logical reasoning rather than from explicit statements
He could only infer that the chemicals found in the storage locker were the same as those used to make the bomb.

Hi, I'm Peter and welcome to TransLegal's lesson of the week.

Today I'm going to be talking about infer versus imply.

The verbs infer and imply are often confused. The important distinction is when a writer or a speaker implies something it means that it's indicated or suggested without being explicitly, expressly or clearly stated. In other words, it's indirect.

For example,

"Are you implying that my client is dishonest?" or
"The text implies that each house must take its decisions by majority vote".

Conversely, a reader or listener infers or you can also say draws an inference, by drawing conclusions based on evidence or logical reasoning rather than from express statements or explicit statements. So some examples of the use of infer are:

"What did the question infer?" and
"One cannot directly infer one from the other".

A synonym that you can use or a synonymous phrase which you can use when referring to infer is to “read between the lines”.

You can learn more about both of these terms in TransLegal's dictionary. There you will find other sample sentences and common mistakes as well.

That's it for today though. If you have any questions or comments, as usual, please leave them in the comment box below and myself or one of my colleagues will get back to you as soon as we can. Thanks.

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