Elicit vs Illicit: Difference between Them and How to correctly use them

There are a lot of English words that are misused and applied interchangeably in sentences and conversations nowadays due to its minimal distinction when it comes to spelling, sound and sometimes definition. The words “elicit” and “illicit” are some of the words which are often confused by writers and speakers. The term “elicit” is a verb or action word which means to draw out or evoke a response from a person. The pronunciation of the word “elicit” begins with a long “e” sound. The term”illicit,” on the other hand, is an adjective, or description word, and pertains to a forbidden by law or custom. The pronunciation of the word “illicit” is articulated with a short “i” sound at the beginning. The difference between these words in terms of pronunciation is very slight. The first thing to do is to determine whether the sentence or phrase calls for a verb or an adjective, where speakers and writers are going to have enough knowledge about the words and know how to use them correctly. 

Listed below are the comparisons between the terms “elicit” and “illicit.”

  • “Elicit” is used as an action word.
  • “Elicit” is used to mean the act of bringing out or forth. 
  • “Elicit” is sometimes used to mean to get something. 
  • “Illicit” is used to describe things that people are not supposed to be doing. 
  • “Illicit” is used to emphasize something that is not permitted.
  • “Illicit” is used as an adjective.

Content writers need to know the difference between “elicit” and “illicit” in order to properly use the terms. Content writers must bear in mind  that the word “elicit” is particularly used as an action word referring to the act of doing illegal things. Meanwhile, the term “illicit” must solely be used and referred to as an adjective. It is normally employed in sentences to indicate the things that people aren’t supposed to do.

Some example sentences using the term “elicit” are as follows; “The police chief hoped to elicit the truth about the missing evidence from the corrupt officer.”  and “Surprisingly, the gruesome images of the murder did not elicit any feelings of sympathy from the killer.” The word “elicit” is used in the sentence correctly, which refers to the act of doing something illegal. Meanwhile, some example sentences of the term “illicit” are as follows; “They were prosecuted for illicit drug selling.” and  “Illicit diamond exports are said to be worth over $500 million.” The example sentences show that the term “illicit” is used correctly as an adjective, in reference to things that people aren’t supposed to be doing. 

Many content writers have been asking, “Why is it important to know the difference between “elicit” and “illicit” for content writing and marketing?” The reason for that is because they need to write better content and communicate in a healthier way to the audience. It’s important for writers to have a clear idea of what their content is about so that readers are able to understand what they’re trying to convey. Having a wide knowledge of the difference between the terms “elicit” and “illicit” is vital to the success of the content if its purpose is to educate the audience. 

What does “Elicit” Mean?

The word “elicit” means a response or reaction from someone which is usually triggered or provoked by another person. The response is categorized into two ways, either as an abstract or as an intangible reaction. It is like an emotion, or something more concrete, like facts or information. The term “elicit” comes from the Latin word “elicitus”, the past participle of the word “elicere,” which means to draw out or draw forth. Its first known use was recorded during the 1640s. Some English dictionaries, such as Oxford, define “elicit” as getting some information or reaction from somebody, often with difficulty. The word “elicit” is a very popular word in the English language. It is an important word for people’s everyday conversation emphasizing the act of making someone react in a way that the person wants. 

What are the sentence examples with “Elicit”?

Listed below are examples of sentences using the term “elicit.”

  • “Did none of them elicit sympathy?”: The example sentence shows that the term “elicit” is used correctly which means getting something from someone. The sentence illustrates that something is being taken out from another entity, which in the sentence is comfort .
  • “Have you managed to elicit a response from them yet?”: The term “elicit” is used correctly in a sentence. It is being used to mean acquiring some feedback from someone or people. 
  • “They were able to elicit the support from the public.”: The word “elicit”  is being used in the sentences to mean obtaining help from the public. The word “elicit” is properly applied in a sentence.
  • “The fundraiser did not elicit the donations needed to keep the shelter open despite the event planner’s hard work.”: The word “elicit” is used correctly  in a sentence as a verb. It suggests an idea that something is taken from somebody, which in the sentence’s case completely failed to raise the donations.
  • “The scientist hoped to elicit a response from a mouse by piping high-pitched sound into a sealed cage.”: The word “elicit” was used correctly as a verb in a sentence. The term “elicit” was used by scientists to mean waiting for a response from the mouse they are experimenting with. 

When to use the word “Elicit” in a sentence?

The word “elicit” must be used as a verb in the sentence. It must only be used in a sentence to mean a response or a reaction. It is used to indicate that someone is doing or saying something which causes other people to respond or react. There are some content writers who get confused with the word “elicit”, especially for beginners. However, the best tip to remember is that the word “elicit” is closely spelled with the letter “e” and must be defined in reference to the act of making someone react in a way someone wants or the habit of managing someone to get information being desired.

How often is the word “Elicit” used in a sentence?

The word “elicit” must solely be used once in a sentence. It must not be used as a redundant word within a sentence. On the other hand,content writers are able to use as many other words as they want within a sentence as long as all the other words are in the right place, grammatically speaking. The use of  repeated words within a sentence or paragraph makes it feel and look simpler for readers and writers. However, content writers must be mindful of how these words are being used, especially the term “elicit.” Good quality content must be understandable and easy to read. 

What are the synonyms of “Elicit”?

There are a lot of synonyms for the term “elicit.” Some of these synonyms are “evoke”, “reveal”, “call forth”,  “educe”, “get”, “disclose”,  “uncover”,  “extort”,  extract”,  “obtain”, and etc. These words are related to each other in such a way that they mean the same thing, whose base word is “bring forth.” Some example sentences of using the term “evoke” as a synonym for the word “elicit” are as follows; “It failed to evoke (elicit) the sense of peacefulness I so desperately needed after my crazy day at work, despite the soft, calm quality of the music.” and “He had no idea that his proposal evokes (elicit) such negative reactions from his colleagues.” The word used as a synonym in a sentence is “evoke,” which means to cause something to be remembered or expressed.

What does “Illicit” Mean?

The term”illicit” is an adjective that describes a noun, such as a person, place, or thing. Its meaning implies something that is not socially approved. It is related to being illegal or outside the law. The word “illicit” comes from the Old French term “illicite,” meaning unlawful or forbidden. Its first known use was during the 14th century. Some English dictionaries, such as Oxford, define “illicit” as not being allowed by the law. It is a very popular word in English and is common for everyday conversations, especially those who live in the United States and other American English speaking countries.

What are the sentence examples with “illicit”?

Listed below are example sentences using the term “illicit.”

  • “The cops arrested Johnny because he had an illicit marijuana pipe in his car.”: The term “illicit” is used in a sentence correctly. Its meaning refers to a thing that is disapproved of by society. 
  • “Jane told the authorities about how illicit drugs should be allowed, and she shouted, “Legalized it!”: The term “illicit” is used in a sentence correctly. Its meaning refers to an action that is disapproved of by society.
  • “Mary smuggled an illicit bottle of water into the concert because the venue was selling them for 10 dollars.”: The term “illicit” is used in a sentence correctly. Its meaning refers to a thing that is disapproved of by society.
  • “The security guards took Johnny out of the concert because he was taking illicit photos of ladies in the bathrooms.”: The term “illicit” is used in a sentence correctly. Its meaning refers to a thing that is disapproved of by society.
  • “Joe was being charged for having illicit materials on his computer’s hard drive.”: The term “illicit” is used in a sentence correctly. Its meaning refers to a thing that is disapproved of by society.

When to use the word “Illicit” in a sentence?

The word “illicit” must be used as an adjective. It must particularly be used in a sentence to mean something illegal that is not approved by society or is unlawful. Writers must not be confused with the word “elicit.” There are instances when some content writers get confused with the words, especially the beginners. The best way to remember the difference between the words “elicit” and “illicit” is that the word “illicit” is closely spelled with all letters “i.” It must solely be used to define things that are not legally permitted or authorized. 

How often is the word “Illicit” used in a sentence?

The term “Illicit” must only be used once in a sentence. It must not be used as a redundant word within a sentence. On the other hand, grammatically speaking, content writers are able to use as many other words as they want within a sentence as long as all the other words are in the right place. However, content writers must be mindful of how these words are being used, especially the term “illicit.” Great contents must be understandable and easy to read.

What are the synonyms of “Illicit”?

There are a lot of synonyms for the term “illicit.” Some of them are “unlawful”, “criminal”, “unauthorized”, “felonious”, “wrongful”, “prohibited”, “unethical”, “unlicensed”, “unprincipled”, “immoral”, and etc. These words are related to each other because they mean the same thing, and have the same base word which is“forbidden.” Some example sentences of using the term “illegal” as a synonym for the word “illicit” are as follows; “They are the known dealer of illegal (illicit) items in their town.” and “His father was caught up with illegal (illicit) materials in his car.“ The word used as a synonym in a sentence is “illegal,” which means to be contrary to or forbidden by official rules and regulations.

How are the pronunciations of “Elicit” and “Illicit”?

The words “elicit” and “illicit” are almost similar when it comes to their pronunciation and spelling. The pronunciation of the word “elicit” begins with a long “e” sound while, the pronunciation of the word “illicit” is with a short “i” sound at the beginning of the word. The difference in pronunciation is very slight. It is very important that aside from having knowledge of their meanings and spellings, content writers must be familiar with how these words are pronounced. It is very vital not only to think about what a writer says, but how they must say it as well. It is not enough to have well organized ideas expressed in complete and coherent sentences and paragraphs to communicate effectively. One must think about the style, tone, and clarity of the content, and adapt these elements to the reading audience. Analyzing one’s audience and purpose is the key to writing effectiveness. The writer must consider the objective of the documents in order to choose the most effective language, the content in which it is being written, and who’s reading it.  

Comparison between “Elicit” and “Illicit”

Listed below is the table that shows the comparison between the words “elicit“ and “illicit.“

English WordsDefinitionContextExamples
ElicitThe word “Elicit” means to draw forth or bring something out. The term “elicit” is being used as a verb to denote actions, conditions, or experiences.“The lawyer was trying to elicit a response from her.”

“My wife was trying to elicit a confession from our daughters because she wanted to know who it was that broke t
IllicitThe term“illicit” means improper or not permitted by laws or society’s morals. The term “illicit” is being used as an adjective to modify the noun, it’s either a place, thing, person, or idea.“The police officers found illicit drugs in the van.”

“Jane dumped Johnny because of his illicit drug habit.”

Why are “Elicit” and “Illicit” misused and interchangeably in English?

The words “elicit” and “illicit” are frequently confused with one another. Their sounds are extremely similar to one another when spoken. They have a very minimal difference when it comes to spelling. However, these terms refer exclusively to a different concept in terms of their definitions. The word “elicit” conveys an action, condition, or experience, which refers to bringing light to something. Meanwhile, the word “illicit” is an adjective that modifies a noun, a person, place, thing, or idea, and means something illegal that is unlawful or restricted by society’s morale. Moreover, the term “elicit” starts with the letter “e,” while “illicit” starts with the letter “i.” The words “elicit” and “illicit” must not be interchangeable because each term has a certain definition associated with its use. 

Are “Elicit” and “Illicit” the most commonly misused English words?

Yes, the words “elicit” and “illicit” are two of the English words that are overused most frequently in today’s society. People are likely to get these words mixed up due to the fact that they are spelled and pronounced similarly. Content writers misused English words for the main reason that they do not have enough knowledge of the words being used in the content. Learning the distinction between the terms “elicit” and “illicit” is the most effective strategy for remembering their difference. Furthermore, it is important to keep in mind that the term “elicit” refers to drawing out or bringing forth actions that are very similar to calling up or producing. On the other hand, the term “illicit” means illegal or counter to the society’s moral standard. 

What are the other similar Misused Word Pairs like “Illicit” and “Elicit” in English?

Listed below are some other similar misused word pairs like “elicit“ and “illicit“ in English. 

  • “Flare“ vs. “Flair“: The English words “flare” and “flair” are commonly interchanged which are comparable to “elicit“ and “illicit.“ “Flare” and “flair” are almost alike when it comes to spelling. The only difference is the vowels used and the arrangement of the last two letters. The pronunciation of “flare” and “flair” are totally similar. On the contrary, the meanings of “flare” and “flair” are very far from each other. “Flare” means related to the concept of filing in either a literal or figurative sense. It suggests that something is becoming more widespread. Whereas, “flair“ refers to a particular aptitude or ability, as well as a sense of style.
  • “Eminent” vs. “Imminent”: The English terms “eminent” and “imminent” are similar misused words like “elicit“ and “illicit.“ “Eminent” and “imminent” are almost spelled in almost the same way just like “elicit“ and “illicit.“ The only difference is the first vowel and the addition of the letter “m” in the “imminent” word. Additionally, in terms of the pronunciation, the terms “eminent” and “imminent” have only slight differences. The meaning of the word “eminent” is “distinguished” or “standing out.” Meanwhile, the word “imminent” indicates that an event is very close to taking place.
  • “Ensure” vs “Insure”: The words “ensure” and “insure” are often interchanged in English the same as “elicit“ and “illicit.“ “Ensure” and “insure” are pronounced similarly like “canvas“ and “canvass.“ Meanwhile, the structure of the words “ensure” and “insure” only differ in the letters “e” and “i.” Furthermore, they bear varying meanings. The term “ensure” means to make certain. On the other hand, “insure” means to make preparations for financial recompense in the event that something unfavorable occurs.
  • “Perquisite” vs. “Prerequisite”: The terms “perquisite” and “prerequisite” are frequently confused words similar to “elicit“ and “illicit.“ “Perquisite” and “prerequisite” are often misinterpreted due to their deceptive spelling, just like “elicit“ and “illicit.“ However, these words convey different meanings. A “perquisite“ is anything that an employee receives in addition to their regular paycheck as part of their employment agreement. Meanwhile, the word “prerequisite“ refers to something that must be met before something else is done.
  • “Eminent” vs. “Imminent”: The English terms “eminent” and “imminent” are similar misused words like “elicit“ and “illicit.“ “Eminent” and “imminent” are almost spelled in almost the same way just like “elicit“ and “illicit.“ The only difference is the first vowel and the addition of the letter “m” in the “imminent” word. Additionally, in terms of the pronunciation, the terms “eminent” and “imminent” have only slight differences. The meaning of the word “eminent” is “distinguished” or “standing out.” Meanwhile, the word “imminent” indicates that an event is very close to taking place.

What are the things a content writer should consider in using the words “Elicit” and “Illicit”?

The words “elicit” and “illicit” are commonly misunderstood and used interchangeably. The problem with the spelling of these words is that it is not frequently heard in conversation for someone to say “elicit” instead of “illicit.” However, it must not come as a surprise that there is some level of confusion because of their spelling because they actually share every letter except for the first letter of the words. The term “elicit” starts with the letter “e,” while “illicit” starts with the letter “i.” These words not only share almost the same spelling but as well as how these words are pronounced. The first thing a writer must keep in mind is to differentiate them based on how they are spelled. The second step is to become familiar with how to use them in a sentence. “Elicit” must be used as a term to mean obtaining something, especially information or a reaction. On the other hand, the term “illicit” must be used to mean forbidden by law, rules, or custom. 

Can content writers use “Elicit” and “Illicit” in one sentence?

Yes, it is permissible for content writers to use the phrases “elicit” and “illicit” together in the same sentence. The main thing a writer needs to be aware of when using the words “elicit” and “illicit” in a sentence is how to use them correctly. An example statement using these words is “Johnny elicited sympathy from the people after being arrested for possessing illicit items without a prescription, including cannabis to cure his mother’s cancer pain.” They must understand where to place each word, in order to produce high-quality content. Every sentence must have a subject, and that subject must always be in the form of a word. The person, place, or object that is performing the action that the sentence’s verb is describing is the sentence’s subject.

How do Content Writers use “Elicit” and “Illicit” in their articles?

Content writers employ the terms “elicit” and “illicit” by comprehending their differences and the target audiences for each. It is crucial to having effective communication skills in both the workplace and in everyday life. Content writers commonly employ words like “elicit” and “illicit” to give their viewers something. Like other seasoned writers, one is able to employ the words “elicit” and “illicit” in content writing for which they were meant. Writers frequently use the word “elicit” to suggest that something or someone was forced to come forward. They use the word “illicit” to refer to unlawful behavior.

Do Content Writers use “Elicit” and “Illicit” in the wrong way?

No, because, despite what most people think, trained writers do know when and how to use certain words well. However, there are several cases where beginners have used these words incorrectly. It is because these terms are frequently involved among homophones. Homophones are pairs of words that sound or look alike but have different meanings. Writers must have wider ideas and knowledge about the distinctions between them, so they don’t make the same mistakes twice. They must have a firm grasp of the proper use of the words. Furthermore, the content authors must be able to distinguish them based on their spelling. Since one is spelled with “e” and the other is spelled with “i,“ it is simple to tell them apart just by looking at their spelling.

Do Misused Words such as “Illicit” and “Elicit” affect SEO and UX?

Yes, there are further consequences for mistakenly utilizing the words “elicit” and “illicit,” and Google’s page rank is altered as a result. One grammatical mistake changes the text’s entire meaning. The quality of the user experience (UX) is taken into account when performing search engine optimization (SEO). Users are likely to have a negative opinion of the website, if it has several spelling and grammar errors. It’s a risk that  results in losing clients and money. Grammar errors cause the SEO rating to drop as users’ perceptions of the site’s quality decline. Despite the fact that sentence structure is not a direct ranking criteria, there is a correlation between spelling and PageRank.

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