I’m all for clarity in writing, but sometimes it’s good to be subtle. The three words featured in this writing tip are good examples of sneaky or subtle words: allusion (to allude), elusive/elude, and illusion. They are often misused, so here’s a short discussion on their usage:
Allusion is an indirect reference or subtle mention of something:
My aunt alluded to my disappearance when she told my mother to look around her house for a four-year-old, tow-headed girl in pigtails.
Elude means to cleverly escape from or avoid someone or something. Likewise elusive refers to something that is difficult to find, catch, or achieve:
Not even my clever idea and well-planned escape eluded my mother who (I found out later) had watched my getaway from the kitchen window.
Illusion is a false or unreal belief; or something that seems to exist but doesn’t, or seems to be something but isn’t. It is a false image, leaving false impressions.
I was living an illusion when I thought I could outsmart my mother.
Kathleen Kaska, Marketing Director