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Evoke Vs. Invoke: Examples to Use Them Correctly

Rujuta Patil Aug 24, 2020
Even though we feel that we know the difference between the words evoke and invoke, we may end up using it incorrectly at times. By outlining a few sentences using these two words, we help you understand the difference between them.

Who is the Subject When?

On keen observation, we realize that in a sentence with the word 'evoke', a thing/concept/action is the subject of the sentence. On the contrary, in the case of a sentence using the word 'invoke', the person/group is the subject (one who invokes something) of the sentence.
Like some other similar-sounding and confusing pair of words, the pair of evoke and invoke may trick us as well. Looking at the words, we nod to ourselves in our minds saying, "Yeah, I know what that means." 
Despite that, we are sometimes challenged by our internal ears saying,"Hey, do you really know how one is different from the other?" May be, we would need some help with that.

Let's first take a look at the definitions and origin of the words 'evoke' and 'invoke', as given in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.



1. to bring (a memory, feeling, image, etc.) into the mind
2. to cause (a particular reaction or response) to happen

as in:

 The old house evoked memories of his childhood.
 His photographs evoke the isolation and solitude of the desert.


1. to mention (someone or something) in an attempt to make people feel a certain way or have a certain idea in their mind 
2. to refer to (something) in support of your ideas 
3. to make use of (a law, a right, etc.) 
as in:

 He invoked his Fifth Amendment privileges.
 Nietzsche is so complex that he can be invoked in support of many outlooks, some of them brutal or nihilistic. ― Thomas Nagel, New Republic, Jan 14, 2002


 Evoke comes from a Latin source "evocare", from e- + vocare (meaning to call). It's believed to be used for the first time in circa 1622.
 It originates from the Middle English root "envoken", from Middle French invoquer, from Latin invocare, from in- 'upon' + vocare to call, and from voc-, vox (meaning voice). It was first used sometime in 15th century.

Examples of Sentences Using Evoke and Invoke

 Simple strokes of yellow on a canvas evoke happiness and liveliness.

 The soiled and torn clothes of a beggar evoked sympathy in the boy's heart.

 The Supreme Court's decision in favor of progressive taxation evoked protests from the high-income groups.
 Disney cartoons often evoke memories of summer holidays spent with cousins and the childhood innocence.

 The sound of water flushing down from great heights at a waterfall evokes a feeling of audacity.
 A citizen can file a writ petition in the court and invoke the law to defend his fundamental rights.
✦ She invoked Khalil Gibran's poetry to put across her idea of "spiritual means".

✦ Refugees living on the borders between enemy nations can be helped by invoking the 1951 Refugee Convention.
✦ The saint claims to have invoked the spirits of their forefathers' last night.

✦ A teenager, who had missed his school bus, invoked the help of the city police to find his way back home.

Difference in Meaning and Usage

 Evoke: It is used in the sense of drawing out or extracting something via a medium. It can be arousing a feeling, emotion, or memory that was obscure or latent in the mind. Sensory stimuli like smell, sound, painting, image or description, taste, etc., lead us to remembering events or experiences of the past or also imagination about those things.
✦ Evocation: Use of this noun form can be understood from the example: rich evocations of the sights, sounds, and smells of the carnival. Such a sentence gives a feel of nostalgia.

It's synonyms include: arouse, elicit, educe, raise, kindle, and inspire.
 Invoke: Also, according to the Oxford dictionary, invoke means to call on (a deity or spirit) in prayer, as a witness, or for inspiration. The word is generally used as a cause or something that leads to another action or situation. It's usage for citing purposes or as an appeal to (someone or something) is often observed too.
✦ Invocation: It is the noun form of invoke, which refers to the prayer that is conducted at the beginning of a service in Church. 

It's synonyms include: raise, conjure, cause, bring about, draw on, effectuate, result (in), bring on, and yield.
Whether a thing evokes something or you invoke someone or something, it is all about whether you place an "e" or and "in" before the "voke". We hope the examples given in this article have made it easier for you to decide when to say what! To assess yourself, you can take the quiz provided below to judge how well you have understood this topic.

Quiz Time

1. The melodious sound of the flute __ peace in the surroundings.
Answer: evokes

2.Translators have to __ root words and phrases from other languages for better results.
Answer:  invoke

3. __ hidden emotions and making the audience feel one with the character is the motive of theater.
4. Exchange of ideas among the two cultures for decades have __ harmony and understanding in their trade relations.

5. Talking about the richness of English literature, the teacher __ a Shakespearean Sonnet.
Answer:  evoke

6. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides for certain provisions that can be __ by the courts of all countries to restrain child labor.
Answer: invoke

7. Feats achieved by the military personnel during wars __ immense honor and pride for them.
Answer: evoke
8. Those curious minds tried to __ the spirits of their ancestors.
Answer: evoke

9. That place in the corner really __ memories of my college days.
Answer : invoke