Inference Practice Questions

Improve This Reading Comprehension Skill

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Want to improve your reading comprehension? Mastering your inferencing skills is a great place to start because making inferences is an integral part of understanding what you're reading. Inferences, or evidence-based conclusions about a text, help to unlock meaning and clarify what's happening in a passage. Always using evidence to support your reasoning, start practicing making conclusions about a passage right away—your comprehension will improve dramatically as a result.

The following inference questions will give you a chance to flex your conclusion-making muscles. If you need additional practice afterward or just want to know what an inference is more specifically, try working through the steps of making an inference.

How to Make an Inference

Because there are so many different approaches to inferencing and effective strategies for making an inference, the best way to practice inferencing is to do it again and again. Unlike other reading comprehension skills such as understanding vocabulary and identifying the main idea, making an inference is going to look different for everyone. This is because when it comes to drawing conclusions, there isn't really a "right answer".

If you are asked a question about a text that you've read thoroughly, just about any inference you make, as long as it is supported by evidence and answers the question in its entirety, can be considered correct. When you have mastered every other area of reading comprehension and are following a text closely, you will find that inferencing comes naturally.

Inferencing Practice

These problems are designed to help you practice making evidence-based conclusions. The first two are done for you. Check your answers to the rest below (note: there is not a single correct answer to each question, but rather many possible interpretations).

Remember, inferencing is about reading between the lines. What does the writer of each passage want you to understand about what's happening beyond what's been written?

Questions

  1. I wouldn't eat after that two-year-old if I were you.
    Inference: The two-year-old probably did something gross to the food you were about to eat or has a cold and you could catch it. Something bad will happen to you if you eat the food. 
  2. For Valentine’s Day, my fantastic neighbor gave his wife a poem that took him about two seconds to write. Sheesh.
    Inference: My neighbor is not very considerate (and not actually fantastic) because he didn't take his time writing the poem.
  3. A man ran after a retreating bus, waving his briefcase frantically.
    Inference:
  4. If she died, I wouldn’t go to her funeral.
    Inference:
  5. Jake almost wished that he hadn’t listened to the radio. He went to the closet and grabbed his umbrella even though he would feel silly carrying it to the bus stop on such a sunny morning.
    Inference:
  6. Hey! What happened to all the school construction money taken from the taxpayers? It paid for this toilet the money was flushed down.
    Inference:
  7. As you give a speech in front of a large audience, you realize that people are laughing behind their hands and pointing to the region below your waist.
    Inference:
  8. No, Honey, I don’t want you to spend a lot of money on my birthday present. Just having you for a husband is the only gift I need. In fact, I’ll just drive my old rusty bucket of bolts down to the mall and buy myself a little present. And if the poor old car doesn't break down, I’ll be back soon.
    Inference:
  9. A woman walks into a hospital clutching her abdomen and yelling at her husband, who trails behind her carrying a large bag.
    Inference:
  10. You're driving on the highway, listening to the radio, and a police officer pulls you over.
    Inference:

Possible Answers

3. A man ran after a retreating bus, waving his briefcase frantically.

Inference: The man had to take that bus to work and he was running late. He wanted the bus driver to stop the bus so he could get on it.

4. If she died, I wouldn’t go to her funeral.

Inference: I'm extremely angry with this woman for some major reason because one of the worst things a person can do is hate someone after they have passed away.

5. Jake almost wished that he hadn’t listened to the radio. He went to the closet and grabbed his umbrella even though he would feel silly carrying it to the bus stop on such a sunny morning.

Inference: Jake heard that it was going to rain later in the day but that was hard to believe on a very sunny morning.

6. Hey! What happened to all the school construction money taken from the taxpayers? It paid for this toilet the money was flushed down.

Inference: The school district is wasting taxpayer money.

7. As you give a speech in front of a large audience, you realize that people are laughing behind their hands and pointing to the region below your waist.

Inference: You forgot to zip up your fly or you have something on your pants.

8. No, Honey, I don’t want you to spend a lot of money on my birthday present. Just having you for a husband is the only gift I need. In fact, I’ll just drive my old rusty bucket of bolts down to the mall and buy myself a little present. And if the poor old car doesn't break down, I’ll be back soon.

Inference: The wife is hinting to her husband that she wants him to buy her a new car for her birthday.

9. A woman walks into a hospital clutching her abdomen and cursing out her husband, who trails behind her carrying a large bag.

Inference: The woman is in labor.

10. You're driving on the highway, listening to the radio, and a police officer pulls you over.

Inference: You've broken the law in some way while driving.