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I “Refer” You to Something I “Alluded” to Earlier

Allude and refer are common-enough words that often are misused — obviously, because otherwise why would I be mentioning them?

I hear refer almost every day. People refer to something all the time, or they refer a person. The problem arises when someone hasn’t directly stated anything and says, “Well, I referred to that but you didn’t understand me.”

Refer means to mention it directly. If you want someone to read between the lines, or make an inference, you need to use allude because it means to speak of something without mentioning it.

A problem arises when a person says something similar to the headline above. It could mean that the speaker is repeating what he/she previously said and the audience didn’t catch it. If that’s the case, use refer.

Some could argue that it might be more correct to say, “I’m alluding to something I referred to earlier.”

To which I respond, “Please repeat. I missed both.”

Until next time! Use the right words!


May 30, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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