Assume vs. Presume vs. Infer? What’s The Difference?

Assume, presume, and infer are similar in meaning but are different enough that each word has a different use.

Assume means to believe something is true without evidence.

Presume means to believe something is true based on probability.

Infer means to understand something based on available information.

These words are not interchangeable, and trying to use them as synonyms will lead to very confusing sentences that may lose their original meaning.

What Does Assume Mean?

To assume something is to believe that something is true or correct, without having any substantial proof or evidence to believe it. It can also mean to take ownership of a certain item, status of power, or title.

When Is Assume Used?

You want to use the word assume when you are referring to the act of thinking or believing something is true without being totally positive. You can use this word when referring to yourself or other people.

What Does Presume Mean?

To presume something is to believe that it is true or correct based on the probability of it being such. Alternatively, to presume something is to press something upon someone else, such as a task or duty, in a bold manner.

When Is Presume Used?

Assume and presume have two very similar meanings, making it difficult to distinguish which word should be used depending on what you are trying to say.

You want to use presume when you are referring to something that might be a little bit more probable than an assumption. A presumption is more likely to be closer to the truth than an assumption.

What Does Infer Mean?

The word infer means to consider something to be most likely true or correct after taking all of the facts into consideration, and not just relying on what you believe could possibly be true.

When Is Infer Used?

Infer is to be used when you are discussing something that you have facts or evidence to back up, but don’t necessarily know whether or not it is the truth.

Examples Of Assume, Presume, And Infer In A Sentence

Seeing each of these words used in a sentence can be helpful in being able to distinguish the differences between all three of them.

I assume you are wanting me to bring a dessert to contribute to the potluck dinner this evening.

I presume that she couldn’t have stolen the money from the dresser, since she hasn’t been upstairs since she got here.

The press might infer that he is guilty because he refuses to speak to them, but we don’t really know if he was responsible for the death of his ex-wife.