I am reading a passage:

Surely the new companies starting up this year will create no more jobs per company than did last year's start ups. Clearly, it can be concluded that the number of new jobs created this year will fall short of last year's record.

From above excerpt I have to say that if the author "claims" or "predicts" about the job availability in next year? How do I know whether the author is "claiming" or "predicting"? Could anyone help me to discern the difference between claim and prediction?

2 Answers 2


Any assertion about the truth or untruth of a proposition may be called a "claim".

George claims that the Vikings discovered America.
Angela claims that Meryl Streep is the best living film actor.
Darcy claims that the Republicans will win the presidency next year.

But only an assertion about future eventualities may be called a "prediction". Darcy's claim is a prediction, but George's claim and Angela's claim are not.

Note that future is to be understood here in relation to the time when the prediction is uttered. The internet has been around for a quarter-century, but it is still proper for me to say:

Nicolas Tesla predicted the internet.

—because Tesla made this prediction in 1900.

Note, too, that predict is often in the sciences to speak of what appears to be mere correlation. A sociologist, for instance, may write:

Education is a strong predictor of poverty.

This is a figurative use. What the sociologist means is that if you divide a population into groups by how much education the individuals in each group has, you may "predict" with some accuracy how many poor people will be found in each group—a hypothetical future event.

Your example involves a claim about the future: the number of new jobs created this year will fall short of last year's record. This claim is a prediction.

  • I did not see this in this light. Was thinking of numbers and mathematical prediction. This should be upvoted. (+1)
    – shin
    Sep 13, 2015 at 0:07
  • And I'll take this opportunity to thank you, @StoneyB. (Off-topic. I listened to Joe Morello some time after reading his name on your profile)
    – shin
    Sep 13, 2015 at 0:16
  • @shin I hope you enjoyed it! This is the greatest drum solo I have ever heard. Sep 13, 2015 at 0:49
  • I do! If I haven't seen a video, I can only imagine a man with (at least) 3 arms playing. Again, thanks!
    – shin
    Sep 13, 2015 at 4:32

Prediction (in the context of analysis, i.e. extrapolation/interpolation) is providing an assumptive conclusion based on given data/facts or observable truths (intelligent guess). Claim is more opinion-based, regardless whether there is a factual basis or just some personal bias.

(Note: It is possible that a claim may have strong or weak basis, though most of the time, basis is not present)

Kindly check the basis of the author's sentence. If data analysis is involved, use 'prediction'. To be honest, I'd use 'analysis' instead of 'prediction'. (i.e., the author's analysis provides that...)

Otherwise, use 'claim'.

Also, the author appears to have observed some trends which he used as basis (Quoting: "SURELY the companies"; "CLEARLY, it can be CONCLUDED"). The words the author used provides high level of confidence - most likely there is basis.

  • That means it is claim. Sep 12, 2015 at 20:02
  • I'm afraid not. Neither claim nor predict implies anything at all about the evidence on which an assertion is based. Sep 12, 2015 at 22:23
  • @StoneyB, weather forecasting/prediction and other scientific/mathematical prediction are assertions based on scientific data/evidence. That's why I added 'in the context of analysis' (As I was reading in between the lines of the passage the writer appears to have some numerical basis for the prediction). But yes, your answer it is far better! Thanks for bringing that light in.
    – shin
    Sep 13, 2015 at 0:11

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