Learn when it's appropriate to use allude vs. elude with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct and incorrect usages.
Many writers love making literary allusions, but some have trouble figuring out the proper time to allude or elude. By the way, why don't more people use the verb illude for illusion? We'll elude the answer to that question in this post, which won't allude to the differences in allude and elude. Rather, we'll cover the issue directly.
Allude vs. Elude
Allude is a verb that means to suggest something indirectly or to hint at. So a person may not directly say she was a poor child, but she may allude to it by commenting on how she always wore hand-me-downs and never received gifts when she was young.
Elude, on the other hand, is a verb that means to evade or escape someone or something, usually with some speed or skill. For instance, the same person mentioned in the example above may have eluded poverty in adulthood by getting good grades in school that translated into a well-paying job.
Here are a few examples:
Correct: The prince often alluded to a sense of feeling trapped when talking about his future.
Incorrect: The prince often eluded to a sense of feeling trapped when talking about his future.
Correct: The thief eluded capture by sneaking out the window.
Incorrect: The thief alluded capture by sneaking out the window.
Most people can allude to their past, but few can elude their past.