A few days ago
Lee C

How to spot inferences?

I don’t get how to find inferences in a story. Can someone please explain it to me?

Top 2 Answers
A few days ago

Favorite Answer

To find inferences you need to “read between the lines”, the lines being the story you are reading. When you infer something it is like a guess about something that isn’t directly told in the story. The story gives you the clues for you to make the inference. Read the scenario below, and see if you can make any inferences.

The man went to the window and gave the woman twenty dollars. She gave him two dollars back and two pieces of paper. The woman with the man said “Ok, but I’m buying the popcorn!”

Can you infer what is happening here?

You most likely inferred that the man was buying tickets to a movie. The “window” and “popcorn” references help there. Also, you can infer that the tickets were 9 dollars and he paid for two because of the change he received, and the woman’s comment about buying the popcorn. None of these things are directly stated, but our experiences and ability to “read between the lines” allows us to fill in the gaps and deduce where they are.

Another example.

Sarah raced down the street, breathing heavily. She glanced back quickly, screamed, and ran faster.

What’s happening? Well, Sarah’s being chased, of course. Do the sentences TELL you that? No, but there are clues as to what is happening.

In stories you can make more sophisticated inferences about characters and plot.

Understanding characters motives can help you make inferences. If you can deduce why a character behaves a certain way, you can infer more about them. Conversely, your inferences about a character can help you determine their motives.

For example, if a character is a bully at school, and you know his dad is abusive, you can infer his motive for being a bully is a reaction to his dad’s abuse.

Hope that helps!


A few days ago
What your teacher means by finding inferences, is to draw conclusions in the story. You teacher simply wants you to find conclusions as to why things occur. By evaluating motives your teacher means he/she wants you to find why things occur. For example Tom killed Jessica because Jessica killed Tom’s mother. That is a motive. A motive is the reason for doing something or behaving in a specific way.