Imminent vs. Eminent vs. Immanent (Grammar Rules)

Learn when it's appropriate to use imminent vs. eminent vs. immanent with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct and incorrect usages.
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Learn when it's appropriate to use imminent vs. eminent vs. immanent with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct and incorrect usages.

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I feel like today's Grammar Rules subject is likely to trip people up more than most. Not only are the three words usually pronounced nearly the same (if not exactly the same), but they're also all adjectives. That said, I hope this post (and the graphic above) help clear up their immanent differences.

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Imminent vs. Eminent vs. Immanent

Imminent is an adjective meaning something's about to happen. If it's 7:59 and a party is supposed to start at 8:00, then a person can refer to the imminent party that's about to get started.

Eminent is an adjective describing a person (or thing) that is famous and respected within a specific sphere or profession. For instance, an award-winning author of multiple books on American history may be referred to as an eminent historian.

Immanent is an adjective that means inherent, intrinsic, or spread throughout something. For a person, manners are something that can be taught, but some would argue that kindness is an immanent quality.

Make sense?

Here are a few examples:

Correct: It doesn't make sense to stand outside with the imminent approach of a thunderstorm.
Incorrect: It doesn't make sense to stand outside with the eminent approach of a thunderstorm.
Incorrect: It doesn't make sense to stand outside with the immanent approach of a thunderstorm.

Correct: I can't wait to listen to the eminent professors speak about their research.
Incorrect: I can't wait to listen to the imminent professors speak about their research.
Incorrect: I can't wait to listen to the immanent professors speak about their research.

Correct: Speed is an immanent quality of sports cars.
Incorrect: Speed is an imminent quality of sports cars.
Incorrect: Speed is an eminent quality of sports cars.

The anxiety many writers feel at a writing conference stems from their immanent introversion and imminent meetings with eminent literary agents who will decide the fate of their publishing prospects.

Learn more in the online course, Grammar and Mechanics, from Writer's Digest University:

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