“I can’t stop shivering.” Lucy had to speak louder than normal so Gary could hear her over the wind’s caterwaul.[/en
[en]“Move closer,” Gary said as he tugged gently at her light jacket. The material felt alarmingly flimsy in his hand. He wondered how much longer they’d have to wait until help would come.
Although you may not realize it, you have made several inferences from the passage above without even trying very much.
For example, you probably concluded from the conversation that Lucy and Gary were cold, and that they may be in serious trouble. However, if you look back, you’ll see that there is not direct statement about temperature in the passage. You have determined the information from several clues.
What else can you infer from the passage?
Are the two inside or outside? Do you think Lucy has prepared herself for this situation? What might her lack of preparedness say about her personality? What do you think of Gary’s personality?
Most of the information you believe about Gary and Lucy has come from inference.
What Is Inference?
Inference is what we do when we draw conclusions based on observations and experience.
Any time you read, you make inferences about the characters, scenes, and actions. You can do this because you bring a pretty large vocabulary and some life experience with you as you read.
As you read the passage above, you made inferences about the following:
Pronoun antecedents: In the last sentence (He wondered . . .), you have most likely inferred that the pronoun “he” refers to Gary.
Meaning of words from context: Can you define the word caterwaul? You have most likely concluded that it means something similar to howl or scream. If you weren’t familiar with the word before reading the passage, you probably made a conclusion becaus