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Inference Practice

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Name ______________________             Inference Practice


Most people are pretty good at figuring out mysteries.  If you aren’t you might have trouble answering inference questions.  Inference means reading all the clues and making your best guess.  You will be surprised at how easy inference can be.


Read the following paragraph then choose the best answer.


Tommy and John were hot and sweaty as they sat outside the principal’s office.  Dirt smeared both of their faces, and they could hear their teacher’s voice as she gave Mr. Jones her account of what had happened.  Tommy sneered at John, and John returned the angry glare.  As Miss Brown left Mr. Jones’ office, the boys hung their heads so they wouldn’t have to look her in the eye.


From this paragraph you can infer that,

a.  Tommy and John had disappointed their teacher

b.  Tommy and John are sworn enemies

c.  The principal, known for being hard on students, would yell at them both


A is the correct answer.  How do we know that?  Let’s look at the clues:

We know the boys were mad at each other, because Tommy sneered at John and John returned the angry glare.

We can guess that they had been fighting, because dirt smeared both of their faces, and they were sitting outside the principal’s office. The biggest clue is in the last sentence: the boys hung their heads so they wouldn’t have to look her in the eye. They had disappointed their teacher.

Why are the other two answers wrong?

Well, reread the paragraph. It does not say that the boys were best friends, but it doesn’t say they were NOT best friends either. We don’t really know. All we know about the principal is that his name is Mr. Jones. He might be a nice guy, but the paragraph doesn’t give us a clue about what kind of person he is.

The only answer we can infer is that the boys felt that they had disappointed their teacher, because they didn’t want to look her in the eye.

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