Imply and infer are often confused. The easiest thing to remember about them is that they go in opposite directions.
First of all, to imply means to suggest something without coming right out and saying it directly.
For example, if I have a frown on my face and am teary eyed, my facial expression implies that I am sad. Or, if I say, “I don’t even want to talk about my test score,” I am implying that I probably didn’t do very well.
Now, you are looking at my frown and teary eyes. You process the information you are seeing and infer that I am sad. Or, you listen to me talk about my test score and infer that I didn’t do very well.
So, imply goes out, or away from, the speaker and toward the viewer or listener. →
Infer comes in from the person who is implying to the viewer or listener. ←
I say I don’t want to talk about my test score. I am implying I didn’t do well.
You are listening to what I said. You infer that I didn’t do well from what I am saying (or implying).
Bring and take are also often confused, but no one really notices because many people never really thought about how they are different, including me!
Bring and take also go in two different directions.
You take things away. →
You bring them back. ←
Please take these books back to the library. Then, bring some new ones home with you.
Take this cup of sugar over to the neighbor, and bring the empty cup back.
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