I was reading an article earlier today and noticed the writer had used allude instead of elude, so I thought I’d write about the difference between those two words—and figured I might as well include the lesser-known illude while I was at it.
Unlike anyhow and anyway, which are interchangeable under certain circumstances, none of these words are interchangeable. Here’s why:
Allude is a verb. It is used to refer to, or call attention to, something or someone indirectly.
- “You know, the annoying demon with the receding hairline and the smug smile.” Sam alluded to Crowley so as not to summon the King of Hell by mistake.
Elude is also a verb. But it means to escape or avoid capture, usually in a skillful way. It can also be used to indicate a failure to achieve or understanding something.
- Dean made sure the trap was secure while Sam made the call. That sneaky demon had eluded the Winchesters for the last time.
Illude is a verb too. But it’s one you won’t see very often. It means to trick or deceive.
- Dude, if you think you can illude me into lending you my car, you better have another think coming.
The interesting thing is that all three words share a common root, which might explain the tendency to confuse them. Allude, elude, and illude all come from the Latin word ludere, meaning to play. The difference is all in the prefix, which just goes to show how important the little things really are.
I’ll leave you with an example that includes all three words:
- Your minion alluded to how you planned to elude us, so we illuded you by letting you think you were getting away with it.
Linking up with the moonshine grid over at yeah write again this weekend. It’s the weekend and anything goes, so come join us!
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