Imply: to express indirectly; suggest [done by the speaker]
Infer: to derive as a conclusion [done by the hearer]
This isn’t a word lesson. Though, a lot of people confuse these two words. It’s actually an open letter to the people who ask my opinion. When I voice my opinion I am not at all implying that your opinion is wrong.
I can’t tell you the number of times in any given day when I say . . .
“You may disagree, but I think . . .”
“But, that’s just my opinion.”
“. . . even though I can completely understand your take on that.”
Still, every once in a while I encounter someone who gets upset because I don’t agree with them. If you’re not willing to hear a differing opinion you really shouldn’t ask. I believe it is entirely possible for two people to have completely differing opinions and both still be moral, thinking, rational adults.
For instance, I recently said that I didn’t see anything at all funny or entertaining about the premise of the movie It’s Complicated. Having been the cuckolded spouse, infidelity is not something I find humorous. Does that mean I think that you’re a bad person if you enjoy the movie? No. It simply means that I’m not interested in watching it. Period. That’s not a judgment against you. (Well, if you’re the one who came up with the premise it might be just a little bit, but that’s not who I was talking to.)
Just because you inferred that I think you’re wrong doesn’t mean that I think that or that I even implied it.