I love reading books, magazines, news articles, facebook, etc… I just finished reading a book called Armada. While reading this book I found myself making inferences as I created the scenes in mind. What is an inference you ask? An inference is when we use the knowledge we already have to go beyond the meaning of what is printed in the text (Goldstein, 2011). In the book Armada by Ernest Cline he starts off the book with the sentence “I was staring out the classroom window and daydreaming of adventure when I spotted the flying saucer.” When I read this sentence I began to infer that the teacher was still teaching the class while this was occurring. This story is a narrative story which means that it is an account of progressive events but can include flashbacks. As I continued reading I noticed I began making more and more inferences. There are more than one type of inference and I used all of them with this book. An anaphoric inference is when a person or object is connected by an inference from another sentence. This occurred numerous times just like this example, “The Sobrukai and their Glaive Fighters were fictional videogame creations. They didn’t exist in the real world-they couldn’t”. They in the second sentence was referring to the Sobrukai and Glaive Fighters which we made the inference from the previous sentence to figure out what the word they referred to. These types of inferences are fairly easy for us to make. Another type of inference that I used while reading was the casual inference which it can be inferred that the events described in one sentence were caused by events that occurred in the previous sentence according to Chapter 11 Language in our textbook (Goldstein, pg. 310). “When I finally lowered my fist I glanced at Casey and expected him to offer me a nod of thanks. But he was still cowering at his desk like a whipped dog, and he wouldn’t make eye contact with me.” This is an example from the story that you can make the casual inference that Lightman, the main character, frightened Casey when he had his fists raised and stood up to the bully that was bullying Casey by the reaction that Casey had from Lightman. Reading involves much more than just understanding the words and sentences and using inferences help us create the connections we need to help create the coherence, representation of what we read in our mind that relates one part of the text to another, and piece everything together. Next time you read a book, story, article or whatever it may be stop and really look at what you just read and I am sure you will find that you have been making some inferences yourself along the way.
Cline, E. (n.d.). Armada: A novel.
Goldstein, E. B. (2011). Cognitive Psychology: Connecting Mind, Research, and Everyday Experience. Wadsworth: Belmont, CA.