Allude and Elude
. . . as you move forward in this new world of social networking remember that each network has a specific purpose as Reid has eluded to in the video.
This comment on a business blog refers to a conversation between Charlie Rose and Reid Hoffman, founder of the business networking site Linkedin.
There are two problems with the writer’s use of the word “eluded” in this context.
1. The writer was reaching for the word alluded.
2. The word alluded is no more appropriate here than the word eluded.
In current usage elude means “to escape from something.”
The criminal has eluded the police for three years.
Elude can also mean “to get away from” in the sense of escaping one’s memory.
His name continues to elude me.
Allude is often used where the word refer or mention or describe would be the better choice.
The word allude means “to make an indirect reference to something.”
The speaker mentioned no names, but he alluded to the last governor by talking about “a helmet of hair.”
In the interview referred to in the above quotation, Hoffman is not being indirect. He describes the purpose of each social network under discussion. His remarks are specific and not indirect. For that reason the word allude is not appropriate either.
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