Inference: Context as Clue

To make an inference is to make a logical guess about a person, thing or circumstance based on the other information in the passage. One trusty clue to look out for is the context, or the background information or situation. Practice making an inference by identifying the context as a clue below.

How to use Context to make an Inference

Context is important because it tells you more about the surrounding situation that informs or influences the events taking place in the passage. Understand what exactly you are trying to infer before looking for contextual clues to help you fill in the blank.

  • Step 1
    Understand What to Infer

    First, understand what the question is asking you to figure out. Above, you are asked to identify why Theresa felt she had “unfinished business”, or what made her feel that she still had something left to do.

    If it helps, you can re-write this as a sentence with a blank to be filled:
    Theresa felt that she had unfinished business because __________________________.

  • Step 2
    Identify the Context as Clue

    Look at the lines that come before the subject to get clues of the situation:

    • Theresa was a competitive swimmer [Line 3]
    • She would eventually come in first as a “world-record holder” [Line 2]
    • But in the current race, she had just placed fourth [Line 5]

    These clues help you infer why she felt that she was not done yet. Note that the phrase “yet to” in the answer is key, as it communicates that she has not won, but will eventually

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