Make Your Editor Cry: Elude vs. Allude

Make Your Editor Cry: Elude vs. Allude

Allude to something by saying all but what you actually want to say. Elude evades and gets away, like a name that’s on the tip of your tongue.

To allude is to talk around something, give hints, and generally not say what you really want to say. You allude to something when you don’t want to say it outright. When you allude to something, you don’t identify it or mention it specifically.

If you allude to the fact that a cop is sitting right behind you, your friends might stop talking about their plans to rob a bank.

To elude, on the other hand, is to get away. Elude does love hiding from the law, but it can also refer to an idea you can’t grasp. No matter how hard you try, the finer points of quantum physics might elude you. Or it can be something you can’t obtain anymore though others seem to have it, like inexpensive health insurance. Elude means “evade or escape,” like the way you might elude the other kids during a game of hide-and-seek. This word can also mean “to be hard to understand.”

Examples:

The candidate only alluded to his social reforms being based on Marxist principles.
Why many America voters seem to think socialism is a good thing eludes me.

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