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Reading Comprehensions

Inferences

Comprehension is one of the key parts of learning English Grammar. The word comprehension has arrived from ‘comprehend’ which means ‘to understand’. Inference or Infer in reading comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of a passage of text by reading in between the lines when all the information is not provided. Inferences might be difficult for a few students but they can be simplified for better understanding.

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Understanding Inferences

There are a few ways on how to begin figuring out what the infer of a given passage is:

  • We need to look out for clues, some may be obvious and some may be subtle
  • Not down or remember what we already read and know
  • Look for keywords
  • There can be more than one answer or point to a particular aspect of the passage.
  • Whatever inferences we draw from the passage, we must have substantial reasons to support it.

Infer

                                                                                                                                       Source: Pinterest

Asking the Right Questions

When we are posed with a question about the inference of a given passage, we need to ask the most obvious questions to be able to derive an infer.
  • What is the inference of this passage?
  •  From the given passage can I use that will help me get to an infer.
  • What points can I use to support the inference I have derived?

Let us now look at an example with questions and answers:

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Example 1

Every day after work Paul took his muddy boots off on the steps of the front porch.  Alice would have a fit if the boots made it so far as the welcome mat.  He then took off his dusty overalls and threw them into a plastic garbage bag; Alice left a new garbage bag tied to the porch railing for him every morning.

On his way in the house, he dropped the garbage bag off at the washing machine and went straight up the stairs to the shower as he was instructed.  He would eat dinner with her after he was “presentable,” as Alice had often said.

  • What type of job does Paul work?
    Ans: Paul does some kind of a job as a laborer, miner, digger etc. that requires him to get dirty.

How did we land at this inference? The passage mentions “muddy boots’ and ‘took off his dusty overalls’, both of which indicate the nature of his job.

  • Describe Alice.
    Ans: From the passage, we come to know that Alice preferred to keep her house clean and worked around to make sure no dirt from Paul’s shoes or clothes would dirty the house. She had a good control of her house.

How did we reach this inference? The passage gives us clues such as “Alice would have a fit if the boots made it so far as the welcome mat”  and ” Alice left a new garbage bag tied to the porch railing for him every morning”.

Solved Example for You on Infer

Passage:

Crack!  Thunderstruck and rain poured.  Max stared blankly out the window, trying to contain his emotions that raged like the weather.  He was beginning to lose it.  Dropping the kite from his hand, Max broke out into a full sob.  His mother comforted him, “There, there, Max.  We’ll just find something else to do.”  She began to unpack the picnic basket that was on the counter and offered him a sandwich.  Max snapped, “I don’t wanna sand-mich!”  A flash from the sky lit up the living room.  Boom!  Mom sighed.

Question: Why was Max upset? 

  1. Lightning light up the room with a loud noise
  2. He didn’t want to eat the sandwich
  3. It is raining and he cannot go outside to play
  4. He wanted to go on a picnic.

Sol. (c) It is raining and he cannot go outside to play.  The passage mentions ‘ Dropping the kite from his hand, Max broke out into a full sob’ which indicates that Max was ready to go fly his kite until the thunderstruck and rain poured.

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