Grammar

Allude or Elude?

When choosing between allude or elude, it’s easy to realize how simple differences between words can lead to big changes in meaning.

Allude or Elude? The two words look pretty close and sound pretty close, but they aren’t pronounced exactly the same. They’re technically not quite similar enough to be homonyms, but their spelling is similar and in both words, the accent is on the second syllable.

As a result, the verbs seem to be often confused with each other.

Allude

As a verb, to allude to something means to refer to it.

CNN Entertainment recently published an article titled, “Drake calls out Grammys during acceptance speech,” which contained this line:

He also seemed to allude to the Recording Academy’s debatable track record with hip hop and artists of color.

It means that in his speech he made reference to to the notion that the Grammys have under-represented the certain groups of artists and genres of music.

Elude

To elude means to escape or dodge, or even to be unable to perceive.

The most common use of the verb elude refers to escaping from law enforcement, as in this article from the Record Searchlight:

Authorities are looking for a 31-year-old Redding man who managed to elude them after jumping out of his vehicle just south of Redding early Monday.

In fact, if you do a Google search of the word, most references refer to some criminal who managed to avoid being captured.

But there are a handful of references to a more abstract use of the word in which it means someone failed to achieve, understand or appreciate something. Consider this article from EarthSky:

A large, unknown Planet 9 in our solar system continues to elude astronomers.

The supposed planet isn’t actively trying to avoid attention; it’s just that astronomers haven’t yet been able to confirm its existence with any preferred level of data. So in this case, elude doesn’t require any action on the part of the subject.


Now you hopefully have a better understanding to help you make the right choice between allude and elude.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 27 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.