Learn about Inference

Task One


Before you click on possible answers, write down where and when you think this picture was taken?

Place Season Time

How do you know this? What clues helped you?

Click here :

Place Season Time
Holland (The Netherlands) Winter Early evening
The east of England (Lincolnshire)   Early morning
Clues Clues Clues

There is a windmill.
The land is very flat.

There is snow on the ground.
The trees have no leaves on them. They are bare.

There are long shadows on the ground.

Hide the answer.

To work out where and when this picture was taken you had to use:

  1. Your knowledge of the world, possibly even your knowledge of history,
  2. Your knowledge of seasons and
  3. Your knowledge of physics

In other words, you had to behave just like a detective in order to come up with an answer.  You needed to use your ‘powers of inference.’
Your ability to ‘infer’ comes from your personal experience, your knowledge about different subjects, your power of observation and your knowledge about how the world works.  

Task Two

Let’s try another example. Read the following and decide what the season is.

When I got out of bed and looked out of the window I saw leaves all over the yard.

Understanding the meaning of a text is like building a bridge between
  1. information that you already know and
  2. information that is new

Click on the people on each side of the riverbank and then click the river.

As you have seen, a reader has to be active in building bridges.


Task Three

Now try building your own bridges by reading the short text below and seeing if you can work out answers to the questions.

The young woman walked a bit hesitantly towards the famous cozy Italian restaurant. She did not believe the excuse her parents gave her for having to meet her at the restaurant instead of at their house. To make matters worse, she was a bit grumpy because she was still catching up on the sleep that she lost during exam time. She noticed some cars that looked familiar in the parking lot. As soon as she walked through the door, she heard, "Surprise!"


Reprinted with permission from TeacherVision

Question Your answer What clues helped you to work out your answer?

How old might the young woman be?

Who is inside the restaurant?

Why are they there?

Click here :

Question Possible answers Clues given

How old might the young woman be?

In her late teens or early twenties She has just finished taking exams. ‘Exam time’ suggests school or university.

Who is inside the restaurant?

People she knows; possibly relatives and/or friends of the family. She had seen the cars in the parking lot before, which suggests they belong to people she knows.

Why are they there?

To throw a party for the young woman. It could be to celebrate her birthday, the end of her exams, or possibly something we don’t know about. The young woman did not believe the excuse her parents gave for meeting at the restaurant. She heard ‘Surprise!’ when she walked through the door.

Hide the answer.

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