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Examples of Inference

The term “inference” refers to the process of using observation and background knowledge as well as other known premises to determine a conclusion that makes sense.

Inference: Deriving Conclusions from Indications

Some examples of inference are:

  • Sally arrives at home at 4:30 and knows that her mother does not get off of work until 5. Sally also sees that the lights are off in their house. Sally can infer that her mother is not yet home.
  • Bob knows that Baltimore is known for its crabcakes and Bob is going to a seafood restaurant in Baltimore for dinner tonight. Bob can infer that the restaurant will likely serve crabcakes.
  • Sherry’s toddler is in bed upstairs. She hears a bang and crying. Sherry can infer that her toddler fell out of bed.
  • John hears a smoke alarm and smells burnt bacon. John can infer that his neighbor burnt her breakfast.
  • Jennifer hears her mailbox close and her dog is barking. Jennifer can infer that the postal carrier has delivered her mail.
  • Susannah’s co-worker took off the day before and comes in with a sunburn. Susannah can infer that her co-worker was at the local beach.
  • Norman sees cookie crumbs on the floor and chocolate around his son’s mouth. Norman can infer that his son got into the cookie jar.
  • The floor is covered in shreds of newspaper and Susan’s dog has newsprint on his paws. It can be inferred that Susan’s dog ate the newspaper.
  • Sarah left a Payless Shoes bag on the floor and is wearing shiny red heels. It can be inferred that Sarah went shoe shopping.
  • A woman walks into a store soaking wet and it is raining. It can be inferred that she does not have an umbrella.
  • Julia works at a pet store and owns four cats, a lizard, a dog and a rabbit. It can be inferred that Julia is a pet lover.
  • John’s house smells of soy sauce and used chopsticks are on the table. It can be inferred that John just ate Chinese food.
  • Bob eats salad for lunch each day and is a PETA member. His co-workers can infer that he is a vegetarian.
  • Karen bought six lottery tickets the previous day and quit work the next day. Her co-workers can infer that she won the lottery.
  • When the phone rang and Liz picked it up, she was all smiles. It can be inferred that she was pleased to receive the phone call.
  • A child tries a new fruit and makes a disgusted face. His mother can infer that he does not like the taste of the fruit.
  • After feeding her dog Dolly crunchy food for years, Beth put wet food in Dolly’s dish. Dolly would not touch it. Beth can infer that Dolly prefers crunchy food.
  • At 5 o’clock Jill saw her assistant’s office light out and did not hear the sound of typing. Jill can infer that her assistant went home.
  • After her guests went back for second helpings, Mary could infer that they enjoyed her meal.
  • Watching the woman at the airport run toward the arriving flight area, one could infer that she was excited for someone to arrive.
  • Guests at your dinner party asked for seconds so you can infer they liked it.
  • With the storm raging outside and the rain pouring down, Billy looked out of the window. He dropped his kite and began sobbing. You can infer that he really wanted to fly his kite.
  • Ted played games, had cake and ice cream, then watched as his friend opened his gifts. One could infer that Ted was at a birthday party.
  • A baby makes a horrible face after eating something new. The parents can infer he does not like it.
  • In the heat of a summer day, you may infer that the glimmer you see on the highway is water, but it is actually just light reflecting off of the pavement.
  • Wilma took a day off from work and comes in the next day with sunburn. One could infer that she went to the beach.
  • If you see someone dressed all in black, you could make several inferences: Some may be: they are Goth, they think black clothes are slimming, or they are going to a funeral.
  • A boy is wearing a Led Zeppelin T-shirt, glasses, and his shoes have mud on them. One can infer he likes Led Zeppelin, his eyesight is poor and he walked through mud.
  • You adopt a puppy from the shelter and he seems nervous and scared. He hides from loud noises and had some noticeable scars. You can infer that he was abused by his former owner.
  • Your child is playing in her bedroom and you hear a crash and then crying. You can infer she got hurt because she fell.
  • There is an open bag of cheesy puffs and orange powder around your child’s mouth. You can infer he got into the cheesy puffs and ate some.
  • The kids went swimming and then built a sand castle. One can infer they are on the beach.
  • You arrive at home at 5:00 and the house is dark. You remember that Dad gets off at 6:00. You can infer that he is not home yet.
  • Two cars are stopped at a traffic light. The person in the second is honking and waving. You can infer that the person wants the other car to move.
  • The toilet paper in the bathroom is shredded and one cat had bits of paper sticking to her fur. You can infer that she played with the toilet paper.
  • Watching a man run towards the gate at the airport, one can infer that he is running late for his flight.
  • Nancy comes home from her date, runs to her bedroom and slams the door. You can infer that she and her date had a fight.
  • Google will infer what ads you want to view based on your past search history.

Inferences are made all the time, every day. By reviewing these examples of inference you can probably better identify them when you see inferences for yourself.


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