Skip to main content

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.

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.

(Grammar Rules for Writers.)

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.

(Researching and Writing About Overlooked Comics History.)

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?

Image placeholder title

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:

Image placeholder title
Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Writing Doesn't Have to Be Lonely: 5 Benefits of Joining a Writing Organization

Author and Sisters in Crime Vice President Jennifer J. Chow reflects on 35 years of the women's crime writer's organization and the five benefits of joining a writing organization—even if you're an introvert.

5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important)

5 Tips for Forming Your Own Distinct Voice (and Why That’s Important)

While emulating authors you love is a natural starting point, finding your own voice in storytelling is paramount to your success. Author Ronald Kelly shares 5 tips for forming your own writing voice.

From Script

Keeping the Emotion of the True Story (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, Barri Evins offers writers invaluable pointers on navigating the pitfalls, as well as capturing the potential of the true story, peppered with lots of real-life examples.

Sarah Bonner: On a Rom-Com Becoming a Psychological Thriller

Sarah Bonner: On a Rom-Com Becoming a Psychological Thriller

Author Sarah Bonner discusses how she started her debut novel as short story before it became the psychological thriller, Her Perfect Twin.

Kerri Maniscalco: On Big Reveals in Fantasy Fiction

Kerri Maniscalco: On Big Reveals in Fantasy Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Kerri Maniscalco discusses the satisfaction in finishing a series with her new fantasy novel, Kingdom of the Feared.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: A New Podcast Episode, Novel Conference Registration, and More!

This week, we're excited to announce a new podcast episode about literary agents, Novel Conference registration reminder, and more!

5 Tips on How To Write Fast—And Well!

5 Tips on How To Write Fast—And Well!

Who says your first drafts can’t be completed manuscripts? Author Kate Hewitt lays out 5 tips on how to write fast and well.

Shelley Burr: On Writing About Rage in Crime Fiction

Shelley Burr: On Writing About Rage in Crime Fiction

Author Shelley Burr discusses the less altruistic side of amateur sleuths in her debut crime novel, WAKE.

Sew vs. So vs. Sow (Grammar Rules)

Sew vs. So vs. Sow (Grammar Rules)

Let's look at the differences between sew, so, and sow with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.