What is inference?
March 9, 2008
Writers do not always state everything that they want their readers to understand or remember. Sometimes they expect their readers to infer (يَسْتَدِل، يَسْتَنْتِج). According to Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, infer means “to form an opinion that something is probably true because of other information that you already know.” For example, if you read that smokers are more likely to develop cancer than non-smokers are, you could reasonably infer that people would be healthier if they choose not to smoke. Answering inference questions is like being a detective (مُخْبِر، بوليس سِرّي). You read all the clues and make your best guess. When you have to answer inference questions, remember the answer will NOT be:

1. A restatement (paraphrase) of what is stated in the passage.
2. An answer that is false according to the information in the passage.

You be the detective
Now that you know what inference is, click on the link below to practice your detective skills. First, do the vocabulary pre-reading exercise for the passage you have selected by clicking on "Vocabulary." Once you are familiar with the vocabulary used in the passage, click on "Reading and Questions" for that passage.

Reading passages with inference questions