Drawing Inferences

Making inferences means drawing a conclusion based on what is already directly stated in the passage.

When drawing inferences from stated content, you will want to do the following things:

  • Look for clues about what the author’s intentions are.

For example–if the author is discussing the negative effects of too much cell phone usage, we can conclude that they do not think they should be used in the classroom except for educational purposes.

Another example–if the author is discussing the positive characteristics of joining clubs and playing sports, we can conclude that they are in support of being involved in extracurricular activities after school and that it’s good for one’s health.

  • Be familiar with titles and how they could influence a selection.

For example–if a story is titled, “The True Story of the Vietnam War,” we can determine it is an informative piece (non-faction) with facts and information. However, if a story is titled, “Reasons Why You Should Be a Teacher,” we can conclude this is a persuasive piece.

Look at the following example:

Example 1

How AI and Technology is Killing Jobs

Artificial intelligence (AI) and the increase in technology have undoubtedly made our society more advanced. However, while it has its positives, it also has taken away many jobs as a result. Writers have lost jobs because companies simply now put a few keywords into a program and devise an article. Cashiers at supermarkets have also seen their jobs taken away because everything has become self-checkout. Researchers no longer put in the time since the internet and artificial intelligence can find it within minutes. Additionally, as electric vehicles take over the world, the people working at gas stations and fuel companies will also suffer their fate in employment.

So now let’s look at the following question on a test:

From reading this article, what conclusion can we make about the author?

  1. They are happy about the new changes in technology and AI
  2. They think more opportunities have become available as a result of technology and AI
  3. They are worried about the loss of jobs as a result of the growing technology and AI
  4. Technology and AI have helped them get a job recently that is rewarding

Before we even focus on the question, what can we conclude about the author? Well, we can probably say they are not happy about jobs being taken away. We can also conclude that they may have been a victim of losing their job because of artificial intelligence or technology. We can also conclude from the title that this is a persuasive article and the author clearly feels passionate about their stance. All of these could be part of a question on a test about making an inference from directly stated content in the article.

So based on the conclusions we made in the paragraph above, we can definitely conclude here the answer is C. The author doesn’t come about and directly state that they are worried about the loss of jobs, but we can make that inference based on the information he provided in the article and his persuasive stance.

So remember, look for clues on how the author feels about a subject and draw a conclusion. Is he/she positive or negative about a subject? Are they in support of something? This can help us make an inference.

Drawing Inferences Review Test

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