Make an Inference
On standardized tests with a verbal, reading comprehension or critical reading section, you’re going to have to make an inference at some point.
So how do you make an inference? First, you have to know what one is. An inference is an assumption made based on specific evidence. Someone might say to you, “Nice hair,” and you make the inference that the person is being rude and is really insulting you because it was said with a smirk. You infer the implied meaning – the meaning not said directly.
Inferences are made by doctors when they diagnose conditions, by FBI agents when they follow clues, by mechanics when they figure out what’s wrong with your car.
We infer things all the time. If someone flips us the bird, we might figure out that they’re mad at us for some reason. If someone is pushing a stroller, we infer that the person is taking a baby for a walk.
An inference is a guess, but it’s an educated one, and you can typically come to only one of a few possible conclusions. For instance, in the cases above, the person flipping the bird may have only been scratching their chin with their middle finger. The person pushing the stroller could have been wheeling around a decrepit dog. Most likely, though, the first guesses were correct.
So let’s practice our inferring, shall we? Try your hand at the practice inference questions below.