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Inference, implication and deduction

Inference, implication and deduction

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Inference, implication and deduction

​​In a nutshell

Inference means to guess or understand something that is not directly stated. Inferring is a way of 'reading between the lines' and is different from deducing, implying and interpreting. In this summary, you will learn how to identify and use inference successfully.

Reading 'between the lines'

There are several skills you can apply when reading a text to have a better understanding of it. These skills can help you identify key information, answer reading comprehension questions and understand the ideas of a text. 

  • Questions that ask you to deduce/infer/interpret ideas in a text are designed for you to do more than just find information in a text.
  • In some cases, there might be more than one correct deduction or interpretation since people can have different points of view.
  • You should support your interpretation/deduction/inference with evidence from the text to show that it makes sense.


Inference refers to the ability to form an opinion or have a belief based on the information that you know. Generally, you infer something based on certain evidence that the author of the text does not directly state.

"Megan arrived home with her hair and clothes completely wet; she saw me with evil eyes and said 'God, Josh! I called you multiple times and you did not pick up the phone!' then she ran upstairs" 
In this passage, you can infer that Megan probably had to walk in the rain and was angry at Joel for not picking up the phone.


Something is implied when you interpret it beyond the expressed words. 

'I just don't really like Charles' food!'
In this sentence, the speaker can be implying that Charles may not be a good cook.


To deduce is to work out an answer from the given facts or information.

'The dog was hidden behind the curtains and all my shoes were completely chewed up.'
In this statement, it can be deduced that the dog chewed up the shoes.


Interpreting consists of explaining the meaning of something. When you interpret something, it makes it simpler to understand.

'In order to keep students focused, teachers started to wear eccentric outfits, created more interactive materials and started the lesson with a quick game. All of these actions proved to be effective to keep the students not only concentrated but also motivated.'
The students felt more drawn to learning because the teachers applied different strategies to keep the students' attention.

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