Making Inferences Study Guide

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Making Inferences

In this lesson, you'll discover you can use what you already know, plus clues from the text, to figure out things an author doesn't tell you outright!

SOMETIMES AN AUTHOR doesn't tell you exactly what's happening, but gives you clues so you can figure it out yourself.

An inference is a logical guess you make based on facts in the text plus what you already know from life. Maybe you or a friend have had a similar experience. Or maybe you read about something similar in a book or saw it in a movie. You can put the facts and personal knowledge together to figure out what's going on and why characters act or feel the way they do.


A soaked Randy slipped inside the door and put his dripping umbrella in the corner. As he crossed the room to our table, his shoes made a squishy, squeaking sound. "What a day!" he moaned as he plopped into a chair and grabbed a menu.

The author didn't state what the weather was like or where the people were, but you can infer the answers. Clues in the text and your own experiences help you infer that a soaked Randy and dripping umbrella indicate it's raining outside. Randy going to a table and getting a menu helps you infer he's in a restaurant! Some people call making an inference "reading between the lines."

Making inferences helps good readers better understand the text. Inferring also builds readers' interest as they continue reading to find out if their inferences were or weren't correct.

An inference chart can help you track guesses as you read. List details you find in the text, what you already know, and what you infer from them.

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Making Inferences Practice Exercises

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