Monday, January 18, 2010
Should I Just Give Up?
Two unrelated matters. One is a matter of usage. I have been noticing that many educated speakers and writers mistake imply and infer. They use infer to mean imply. I don't know if the distinction between them is another one of those things I should just give up on, or if it is salvageable. To imply means the speaker says something indirectly, making an implication. To infer means the hearer 'gets the message' or, to be less colloquial, the hearer makes an inference. In short, the producer of the utterance or sentence implies. The recipient infers.