Credibility and Credulity; Imply and Infer
- On September 26, 2017
After my last post—the one about ruby chocolate and the hyperbole-laced, credibility-straining press release that announced its arrival—a reader questioned whether credibility should have been credulity. These two words often get confused, and I’m relieved to say I used the right one.
Credibility means believability; credulity means gullibility. If someone is credulous (you’ll see the adjective more than the noun), that person is overly ready to believe something. Credulous people, for example, would not have questioned the chocolate maker’s claims. For them, the press release did not strain credibility.
Imply and infer are two other words that often get confused and misused. Imply means to suggest or hint; infer means to deduce. These words can describe the same situation but from different points of view, which is what came to mind when a job-hunting friend wrote, “The guy who interviewed me inferred that he has some good news for me.”
Here, my friend should have written implied, but—now I’m switching perspectives—she also could have written, “I inferred from his comments that he has some good news for me.”
Either way, I hope she gets the job.