Agricultural Communications, Purdue University
An electronic newsletter with communication tips and information

January 1997

Grammar Trap: Imply vs. Infer

Distinguishing between "imply" and "infer" isn't, strictly speaking, a "grammar trap," but some people are unsure about when to use which word. And usage problems are fair game in this column, too.

"Imply" is a verb meaning to suggest or hint at something without actually saying it in so many words. Speakers and writers can imply things through the words they choose.

Example: By talking so much about the tight budget, my department head implied that I won't be getting a new computer with a large screen.

"Infer" is a verb meaning to draw a conclusion from words or other evidence. Listeners and readers can infer things from the words they hear or see.

Example: My department head talked so much about the tight budget that I inferred I won't be getting a new computer with a large screen.

Helpful Hint: You imply things through your own words. You infer things from someone else's words.

If there's a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like us to discuss or you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let us know.

Control Your Calls

Do you find yourself spending too much time on the phone? These tips will help you control your business calls before they control you.

Take Voice Mail to the Max

Sure, voice mail stretches your time, but are you stretching others' patience with poor messages? These tips will help you maximize your voice mail messages.

Market Your Program via Video

When you want to sell a critical program to county boards or other influential groups, show and tell with video. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words, and moving pictures are even better. You don't need professionally produced video or glitz. A simple, understandable video will help decision makers understand and appreciate what you are asking them to support. This can be a crucial step toward selling your program. Here are some suggestions about your message and your medium that will help you effectively market your program via video.

Think ahead. Take footage throughout the year documenting your program.

You don't have to shoot everything. Consider the message you want to get across about your program. Ask yourself these questions:

Remember to interview key players. Satisfied customers can be very effective telling--and selling--your story, so get some testimonials from people who benefit from the program.

As for your medium, following these basic guidelines will help you produce an effective video.

Want to learn more about shooting better video? Order "Homegrown Video--Getting Started" (8-105), a 50-cent publication available through the Media Distribution Center. And the Agricultural Communication Service offers one-day training to help Extension staff and volunteers learn how to use video equipment.

If you have questions about how you can use video to market your programs, contact Mike Kerper, Educational Media Unit Coordinator and Visual Media Specialist.

We want to hear from you. Do you have a communication question? Do you have a comment on this issue of "On Target"? If so, please e-mail any of our writers.

It is the policy of the Department of Agricultural Communication Service of Purdue University that all persons shall have equal opportunity and access to its programs and facilities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age or disability. Purdue University is an Affirmative Action employer. These materials may be available in alternative formats.