Grammar: Illusion or Allusion?

Lesson 24: Illusion or Allusion?


Illusion or allusion?

A contest of illusion and allusion includes a hippopotamus and references to Romeo and Juliet…

In terms of spelling, two words that frequently get mixed up are illusion and allusion. They sound similar, but they mean two different things…


An illusion is an image that confuses our senses. For example, think of magic tricks; we think we’re seeing one thing, but in reality, something else is happening.

  • Example: It looked like the magician’s assistant was cut in half, but in reality, it was just an illusion.


An allusion is a reference to something, such as a work of literature or a historic event. It can also be a verb, or an action–allude. To allude means to refer to or hint at something.

  • Example 1: The book we are reading contains many biblical allusions woven throughout. 
  • Example 2: Rather than saying it directly, he alluded to the fact that I’m not good at handling criticism.

Hint: There is only a verb form for allusion, not illusion.