Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Winners #2 + WNW: What Are You Implying?

Wow! This giveaway has become such a riot; I'm loving it!

I've even got an update: ONE MORE prize has been added to the pot:

One lucky winner on Friday gets a copy of The Worldwide Ward Cookbook, by Deanna Buxton. If you don't win, no worries: the author is showing off some of her chocolate recipes at a fun event called, "Confessions of a Chocoholic Cook" on March 18 at the Scera lobby in Orem at 7pm. (I KNOW!) The event is free, but you must RSVP by the 16th. Just e-mail covenant promotions at gmail dot com. The book is now on the giveaway post.

(You are entered, right? You have until Friday night.)

NOW . . . today's prize winners from my week-long giveaway:

1) The open circle pendant from Jenn at Handmade from the Heart goes to: Rachelle at Rachelle Writes!

2) Brittany Mangus's book, Prepare Now for the Temple, goes to: Cheryl at Happy Meets Crazy. (Holy cow! We've got almost 400 entries so far, and she's won twice! Multiple entries are worth it, people!)

3) The TWO winners for copies of the CD An Angel to Watch over Me, a tribute to mothers, donated by Covenant Communications, goes to: Shauna at Trying to Stay Calm and to Beth L, who had only ONE entry. So even THAT works!

(Beth, your blog is private, and I have no e-mail for you. Be sure to contact me so you can get your prize!)

Come back tomorrow for the next set of winners!

Now, on to our regularly scheduled Word Nerd Wednesday:

I'm a fossil with some English issues, and today's topic is no different: imply vs. infer.

These are constantly mixed up, and I mean constantly. I've seen the mistake in General Conference reports. I mean, come on! It's so prevalent (much like nauseated/nauseous) that it wouldn't surprise me at all if eventually the rule goes away.

Which would make me sad. And seriously annoyed.

The wrong way is actually listed in one dictionary I checked (but not until the 4th definition, so that's something). Remember, dictionaries report what people are saying, not what's correct.

So what do imply and infer mean, and when do you use them?

They are two sides of the same relationship or event, much like speak and listen. One person is speaking, telling something, and the other person is listening, hearing the speaker.

Same event, different ends of the relationship.

It's the same with imply and infer. One person speaks and implies, or hints at, something, say that the neighbor's dog is really ugly.

But they don't say it outright. Maybe they say, "That dog Fuzzles looks like an ape."

You as the listener take that statement and interpret it as you will. You are inferring the meaning from what the speaker just said.

You could infer that your friend likes apes and therefore likes Fuzzles.

Or you might infer that your friend thinks Fuzzles is ugly because he looks like an ape.

Or you might infer something else that your friend never meant. (Maybe that Fuzzles has a missing tail because apes don't have tails?)


The point is that the speaker IMPLIES and the listener INFERS.

Another way to remember it: INFER has an F in it. When you infer, you FIGURE out the meaning, which begins with F.

The most common error is using infer for the speaker as in, "She's so rude. She totally inferred in the nastiest tone that these pants make me look fat."

No, the LISTENER inferred when the SPEAKER implied that the pants might not be the most flattering.

So I can imply my opinion on all kinds of matters without clearly saying what I mean.

Then I hope that whoever is listening to me infers my true meaning.

Clear as mud?

Today's tour stop:
Scripture Mom
And in case you missed it, Novembrance, who also chronicled how we became friends.


Shauna said...

YAHOO!! Thank You SO-OOO VERY MUCH!!! I am so excited to get that CD in the mail! How AWESOME! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! ♥ Hugs :)

LisAway said...

Congrats to the winners!

I haven't heard this misused too often. Or maybe I have and haven't thought of it? I definitely know and use the words correctly but maybe my ears are already attuned to the modern (wrong) meanings.

Brittany Marie said...


Melanie Jacobson said...

1. I don't make this mistake.
2. I hadn't notice other people make it too much.
3. Now I totally will.
4. Thanks a lot!

Kristina P. said...

Love Melanie's answer! I haven't really noticed this one either. But I will definitely watch for it, and mock anyone who does it.

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I'm not saying congrats to the winners as I'm too busy sulking.

And the infer/imply goodness. It's so incredibly simple, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

So when you write a book, like, say, Tower of Strength, the author implies a legion of ideas, thoughts, topics, and emotions through the vehicle of plot, metaphor and point of view. Is that a fair reader inference of your implied authorly meaning?

The reader, then, infers her own interpretation, essentially inferring her personal experiences, opinions, and world view on the character, plot, and point of view by making inferences the author may have never implied, and thereby making the entire reading experience an exercise in inference by implication.

Am I inferring correctly what you're implying?

Rachelle Christensen said...

Thanks Annette! Woohoo! I'm excited to be a winner. :)

RobisonWells said...

Well now wait a minute.

You said "Remember, dictionaries report what people are saying, not what's correct."

Then how do you define what's correct? In language, isn't "correct" pretty much the same as "commonly accepted"? Since language is fluid and constantly changing, then how could something that is so commonly accepted as to appear in the dictionary also be incorrect?

Annette Lyon said...

Rob, Good question. What's considered "correct" is rather fluid, but it tends to be what is accepted by people who control the output of langauge, like editors, university professors, and the like. It takes years (often decades) for a word or usage to be fully accepted, but it takes far less time to be added to the dictionary.

"Ain't" is in the dictionary, but you won't find many educated people advocating its use.

Cheryl said...


The planets must have alligned. I have never been one to win ANYTHING (too lazy to do italics), let alone Two things!

Thank you!

And I appreciate you clearing up infer and imply --I'm sure I've used them wrong many a time...

Lara Neves said...

Yes, I hear the word infer used incorrectly a lot. Thanks for clearing that up for people!

Rebecca Blevins said...

I didn't realize that the infer/imply disease was so widespread! Thank you for setting everyone straight! It's one of those things that drives me crazy.

Congratulations to the winners! I want to win something. Those are cool prizes!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, winners!

WNW: It's like a truffle singing on the tastebuds. All is right in the world. I don't know how I lived through Wednesdays before this.

Heather Moore said...

Great explanation. Now I just need to remind myself from time to time :)

An Ordinary Mom said...

It always makes me feel happy to know I know something about the English language ... I believe I actually use these words in the correct manner :) !!

Congrats to the winners!

Just SO said...

*sigh* I'm sad I didn't win the necklace.

My husband and you would get along famously. He can't stand the nauseated/nauseous mix ups.

Jen said...

You've got some over the top giveaways! Congrats to everyone, especially my good friend Shauna at Trying 2 Stay Calm! Wahoo! Thanks for the English lesson! From your definition, I think I use imply/infer correctly, but who knows for sure!

Heffalump said...

See, I don't need to go to college...I'll just learn all my grammar here...

That Girl said...

I don't think I've noticed people using them wrong - although now I will.


Will you pleeeeeease correct people on the horrors of saying, "I could care less"? IT DRIVES ME INSANE.

Kate said...

Congrats to the winner. Good explanation on infer and imply which I think many do mix up. Have a super week.

Alison Wonderland said...

I was thinking about this one just the other day (because you had mentioned it before) and that was what I thouhgt but then I wondered if I was wrong (surely not) and see, I was right, I wasn't wrong!

Hey, one day can you do fewer vs. less. I always want to know what the rule actually is (And I really want it to be fewer multiples and less singles (fewer hairs, less hair)) but I'm too lazy to look it up.

Annette Lyon said...

Of course you're right, Alison!

Less vs. Fewer is a personal peeve. I'll definitely add it to my (growing) list.

I did rant about it once here though:


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