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I'm aware verbs like "hold" or "follow" can be used in the following way:

Inequality (1) holds.
Inequality (2) follows from the fact that...

However, I've recently seen the verb "infer" used in a similar fashion in a mathematics paper:

Inequality (1) infers.
Inequality (2) infers from the fact that...

I had never heard nor read it being used this way. Instead, this is how I would normally use this verb, if I want to maintain the passive sense:

Inequality (1) can be inferred.
Inequality (2) can be inferred from the facts that...

I know we mathematicians often have quirky ways of phrasing some things, but that doesn't mean that some expressions aren't outright incorrect, and this time, it's my turn to review this paper (I'm a native spaniard).

I'm sure this type of usage of a verb has a specific name, like "reflexive", but unfortunately I'm not savvy in linguistics whatsoever, so I'm not aware of it. I can edit the title and the question if someone points it out so that the question is more descriptive.

Thanks.

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2 Answers 2

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"Inequality (1) infers..." would be considered an error in academic publishing (e.g., the Springer–Nature and Elsevier families of journals), including mathematics articles.

(I'll leave aside the question of whether "infer" can ever legitimately, in other contexts, be used to mean "imply" based on historical usage.)

Modern dictionaries distinguish that only a person can infer a result (e.g., through derivation from reason). In a conventional journal article, inequality (1) may hold, it may follow, it may imply, or it may be inferred, but it can't infer.

If you find multiple such errors, it's reasonable to ask the authors to have their manuscript professionally edited before resubmission.

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  • Inequality (1) infers.
  • Inequality (2) infers from the fact that...

It is not correct to say that an inequality or any sort of mathematical concept "infers" something. the usual term is "implies".

  • Inequality (1) can be inferred.
  • Inequality (2) can be inferred from the facts that...

The type of the second sentence seems much more common.

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