Key Difference – Invoke vs Evoke
Invoke and evoke are two verbs that are often misused by many English learners. However, there is a major difference between invoke and evoke in terms of their meaning and usage. Evoke means to bring forth something to the conscious mind whereas invoke means to call on a deity or spirit in prayer, or as witness. The key difference between invoke and evoke is that invoke is a more direct and an active verb than evoke.
What Does Invoke Mean?
Invoke basically means to call upon something, especially aid or assistance. This verb is typically used when referring to the aid of a higher power such as a deity. The Oxford dictionary defines the verb invoke as “call on (a deity or spirit) in prayer, as a witness, or for inspiration” and American Heritage dictionary defines it as “to call on (a higher power) for assistance, support, or inspiration”. The following example sentences will help you to understand this meaning more clearly.
The old priest invoked the Holy Spirit for aid.
Stretching out his hands, the shaman invoked the Goddess of War.
The priests held a religious ceremony to invoke the deity.
Invoke can also mean to cite or appeal to something in support or justification.
He invoked the name of Henry II to prove his point.
The prisoner invoked his right to an attorney.
What Does Evoke Mean?
Evoke basically means to recall something to the conscious mind. Evoke is typically used with regard to memory or emotions. The American Heritage Dictionary defines evoke as “to call to mind, as by suggestion, association, or reference” and the Oxford Dictionary defines it as “bring or recall (a feeling, memory, or image) to the conscious mind”. Look at the following sentences to understand the meaning of this verb more clearly.
His passionate words evoked the ugly memories of the war.
John’s comic act evoked laughter from everyone.
Her song evoked memories of childhood.
His story was able to evoke the sympathy of the audience.
The little boy’s words evoked a smile to my face.
When compared to invoke, evoke is not as direct or active. Evocation of someone’s memories and emotions are often an involuntary action whereas invoking implies a deliberate action.
What is the difference between Invoke and Evoke?
Invoke vs Evoke
|Invoke means to call upon something, especially aid or assistance.||Evoke means to recall something to the conscious mind.|
|Invoke is often used in reference to a higher power or authority.||Evoke is used with regard to memory or emotions.|
|The verb invoke is more direct and active than evoke.||Evoke is not as direct or active as invoke.|
|Invoke refers to a deliberate action.||Evoke refers to a spontaneous action.|
Summary – Invoke vs Evoke
There is a difference between invoke and evoke although some people tend to use them interchangeably. Evoke is typically used with memories, images and emotions whereas invoke is used with a higher power. In addition, invoking or calling on a higher power is a deliberate action whereas evocation of memories or feelings is more of a spontaneous action.