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Do you allude or elude?

Another pair of words daily confused as people often don’t know the difference between allude and elude, or use them incorrectly anyway.

allude [verb]: indirectly refer to something
Being discreet, the Principal will only allude to the incident when explaining the new policy to students. 

Note that allude is an indirect reference so does not fit in a sentence such as ‘In summary, the details I alluded to are numerous but simple’ because giving details is not indirect – mentioned or referred would be better words in this instance.

elude [verb]: to escape or get away from
The truant student continues to elude teachers and social workers.
The manager’s name eludes me but I remember his jolly laugh.

Remember the e in elude and escape to help get these words in their correct context.

10 Responses to Do you allude or elude?

  • anotherspaceman says:

    You’ve missed out illude!

    Ok, maybe not missed out, as it’s a word so rare my spellchecker automatically changed it to allude, but it’s out there nonetheless 🙂

    It means to trick. Related to illusion in it’s roots. But in every circumstance it comes up you’ll be better off just using ‘trick’.

    Another good word heads up though.
    Can I ask – are all these inspired by real life occurrences?

    • tashword says:

      I didn’t think of adding in illude – and my spell check made it into allude for me just then, too! I guess it is highly possible for anyone who doesn’t know it to write illude by mistake although spell check doesn’t like it!

      Occasionally I just find a pair of words to explain as my Monday meanings, but most of them are inspired by a real misuse of the words. I generally don’t give the source (not in full anyway) as I don’t want to embarrass people for making a mistake – and I don’t always remember where I saw the mistake either.

      • anotherspaceman says:

        It’s ok, I wasn’t after a name and shame scheme!

        I guess I was lucky with my education as I never seem to mix up words. Well maybe sometimes, but a lot of people wouldn’t notice 😉

      • tashword says:

        Interesting that those of us who mix our words rarely are probably the ones most likely to take an interest in learning and understanding words – those who don’t notice just don’t notice so don’t see the need!

  • andrew320 says:

    I’m not sure if you have a blog post like this or not, but how about when people incorrectly use the word “infamous.”

    “The infamous Santa Claus made his way through the annual parade.”

    Yikes! It makes me shake my head in shame when I read copy that actually uses the word “infamous” for something that really isn’t (or am I wrong and it’s purely subjective?)

    Infamous: “having an extremely bad reputation.”

    • tashword says:

      I haven’t blogged about infamous but am adding it to the list, thanks Andrew. It is certainly one of those words that people misuse – I actually remember being a kid and struggling to know what it meant because it was used in so many (and not all correct I now realise) ways.

  • Mwambi says:

    In Swahili, allude and elude are the same as English words so this is good use for us too.

  • Easy ABN says:

    Allude is not often used that’s why a some people who just heard of it use them incorrectly. While elude is commonly used mostly by teens and get a hang of it.
    Easy ABN recently posted..Guide to Applying for an ABN NumberMy Profile

    • TashWord says:

      Yes, uncommon words are easier to get mixed up.

      Do you come across a lot of teens using elude, Easy ABN? It’s not a word I think of teens using, and my teens certainly don’t! It’s interesting to hear about word use by others 🙂
      TashWord recently posted..Consistent pronounsMy Profile

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