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March 14, 2012
Posted at 10:01 pm
 

Another Fine Word Pair

I've got a new friend sitting in its box. Hopefully by tomorrow I'll be working on the new computer. Why am I writing rather than cuddling my new buddy? I don't want to leave my readers in the lurch. That thing is going to eat up my time until I get it configured, so I'm blogging on my old machine first.

Invoke vs. Evoke

To invoke is when the speaker actively calls forth or causes something to happen. To evoke is to suggest, remind one of, or bring to mind. Thus invoke is more physically or directly active, and evoke is more passive and psychological in nature.

It's harder to explain than to understand, I think. One could invoke the spirits, i.e., call upon them to grant a boon, but the smell of the spirit could evoke a mood, such as a dewy meadow full of flowers.

It's surprising just how many of these confusing pairs of words there are in the English language.