The cause of the politician’s undoing was a long trail of evidences that showed that political figures from other countries had undue influence over him and he had basically sold off his own country.

Undo is a very common computer command and anyone who interacts with computers on a daily basis knows what it means; to reverse the last command on a piece of text or software and return it to a previous state. Similarly, undo as a verb means to restore something to its original state. When you undo a person, you are causing them to fail or making them unhappy. Even though undue might sound similar, it has a completely distinct meaning. As an adjective it means unjustified, unnecessary or excessive. Often, you use it in a sentence when an action has severe consequences. You can find a more detailed meaning and common every-day examples below.

Undo vs undue – definitions, meanings and example sentences

Definition of undo

The word undo is a verb and it has several meanings. Its most common meaning is to restore something to its former state. Originally, the word can be traced back to its older counterpart of the English vocabulary ‘udon’ which also translates to ‘open and unfasten.’ That is why you will find that in many cases, the word undo means to unfasten like when you unfasten a lock or a clamp. When undo is used for a person, it means to cause someone’s doom or to disappoint him. An example would be: ‘the angry criminal exclaimed he would undo her.’ On a similar note, when you use this phrase: ‘these are the causes to her undoing,’ you’re basically shedding light on the reasons for someone’s failure.

Example sentences of undo

  • ‘Could you please undo the curtains, the daylight isn’t letting me sleep,’ she reverted to her roommate.

Since the sunlight was seeping through the curtains, a woman was having a hard time falling asleep so she asked her roommate to unroll the curtains and cover the windows.

  • Girls should undo their hair and remove any pointed clips or hair bands before they go to bed, mom advises.

Undo in this sentence means to untie. This sentence is pretty self-explanatory. A mom advises her daughters to untie their hair before they go to sleep.

  • The corona outbreak proved to be China’s undoing; it shook the country’s economy to its core.

This sentence means that the corona outbreak devastated China’s economy. According to an economic report, China’s economy saw a reduction by 6.8% during the first months of 2020 and 460,000 Chinese firms were reported to have completely shut down.

Definition of undue

The word undue is an adjective that defines something extreme, unjustified or inappropriate. The prefix ‘un’ at the start of the word means ‘not’ and the rest of the word derives from the French root ‘deu’ which means ‘to owe.’

Here is a tip for using undue in a sentence:

The results of the action described as undue must be severe, for example:

‘Undue self-assertion is a sign of inferiority complex.’

Example sentences of undue

  • During the 1700s, the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey attempted to impose undue taxes on incoming criminals but their judgment was censured by the governing body in London.

This sentence tells us that an unjustified tax was being imposed on criminals by a few states but the law was completely disregarded by London.

  • The attacker pleaded to the judge, ‘Mrs. Jackson’s undue rudeness made me lose my temper so I attacked.’

This sentence draws attention to a convict’s plea who had attempted to murder a woman named Mrs. Jackson. He pointed out that Mrs. Jackson’s behavior towards him was unjustifiably rude.

  • Her father’s undue attention has spoiled her. She isn’t used to accommodating, doesn’t care about discipline and often throws temper tantrums.

This sentence describes the signs of a spoilt child. A father’s lenient parenting resulted in an undisciplined daughter.

The meanings of the words undo and undue are pretty straightforward. Undo is a verb whereas, undue is an adjective. Undo means to reverse and undue is something unnecessary or excessive. Remember that undue has an ‘e’ and so does the word ‘excessive.’