When we make an inference, we draw a conclusion based on the evidence that we have available. When we make inferences while reading, we are using the evidence that is available in the text to draw a logical conclusion. The writer or speaker does not come out and state the answer to the question that we are asking of the text-rather, we have to use the evidence that is there to make an informed statement to answer whatever question we are asking.
A character has a diaper in her hand, spit-up on her shirt, and a bottle warming on the counter. You can infer that this character is a mother.
A character has a briefcase, is taking a ride on an airplane, and is late for a meeting. You can infer that this character is a businessperson.
A character uses words like "stat" and "emergency" and "prep" and "operation." You can infer that this person works in the medical field.
A detective enters the house, which has been ransacked. He sees blood on the floor, and it leads out the back door. You can infer that a crime has occurred in the house.
When you enter a house, you see backpacks by the door, small shoes scattered near them. You see an art easel, and a room with a doll house and a toy box. You can infer that there are children in this family.
Your friend walks past you without smiling. Her head is hanging down. She wipes a tear away from her eye, and looks at her report card. You can infer that your friend did not have good grades on her report card.
You walk into the room and the teacher tells you to clear your desk and get out a piece of paper and a pencil. You can infer that an assessment will occur soon.
Literary Terms Examples