CS Sealey

New Zealand-based sub-editor, writer and author

The difference between allusion and illusion

I wish the English language wouldn’t make two words look so similar when they don’t mean similar things! Then again, were that the case, I’d have nothing to do in a day!

allusion (noun)—a phrase or expression which calls something to attention without specifically mentioning it

‘This work of art is a clear allusion to Monet,’ said the gallery curator.

illusion (noun)—a sensory experience that has been mistaken or misinterpreted

‘I thought I saw a tree in the distance but it was just an illusion.’

The two school captains created the illusion of friendship, while, underneath, they really hated each other.

He had no illusions that he would be leaving the hospital any time soon.

I wish I could bend spoons, though.

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