Allude versus Elude

What’s the Difference?


When to Use Allude

Allude is a verb, meaning to make an indirect reference. For example,

  • She kept alluding to him but would never say his name.
  • The politician alluded to the recession by saying, “We’ve all had to make cuts.”

    As you can see, to allude to (something) is to call attention to it or to hint at something, not to just state it plainly or directly. To allude is to give a glancing mention to something but never actually naming it. Instead, by alluding, you give the reader a means of making the identification for him or herself by hinting at it.

    You should be careful not to use allude when quote or refer would be better—that is, where there is a direct mention or quotation.


    When to Use Elude

    Elude is also a verb, meaning to evade or escape (from danger, an enemy, or a pursuer) usually in a skillful or cunning way.For example,

  • The robbers eluded the police by ducking into a dark alley.
  • They eluded the zombies through their wit and survival training.

    Elude can also be applied to ideas or facts, to escape the memory or understanding of,and achievement or something desired and pursued, failed to be attained by.

  • This scientific theory has always eluded me.
  • The only thing that eludes him is a championship ring.

    Summary

    It’s important to keep these words separated because their meanings have nothing in common, and if you mix them up, you might be accused of sloppy writing.

    Allude means to call attention to indirectly or hint at.

    Elude mean to escape from capture, from memory, or to be unattained by.


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