Immigrate or emigrate – which form is correct?

Immigrate or emigrate – do you know which of these two is correct? It depends on what context you want to use one of these two. However, these two words sound remarkably similar their meaning is quite opposite. You cannot use them interchangeably, so let’s better learn their meanings.

Immigrate or emigrate? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

Immigrate or emigrate – what is the meaning?

To immigrate means to arrive in a foreign country, so as you can easily tell to emigrate means to leave a country of origin or residence. Probably you have heard the words: immigrant and emigrant more often than the verbs that they refer to. As you can assume immigrants are people who arrived in a certain country with the intention of living in it and the emigrants left a country of origin with the intention of leading their lives somewhere outside it.

Immigrate or emigrate – it is all clear now!

As you can see the most important thing when you want to use one of these two words is the perspective. Each of them can be used in the context of the same group of people, but with opposite meanings.

Immigrate or emigrate – examples

Immigrate or emigrate? Learn the exact meaning by heart with the examples below. Pay attention to the comments in the brackets:

Jewell Parker Rhodes, Towers falling

We are a family—not perfect, not all the same, some rich, some poor, all kinds of religions and skin colors, some born in America and some immigrating here.

(Meaning: Some of them came to America)

Patricia T. O’Conner, Woe Is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English

You emigrate from one country and immigrate to another.

(Meaning: You come from one country and leave for another.)

Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

I was glad that I was born nine months after my mother emigrated.

(Meaning: The person was born nine months after his/her other left her country of origin.)

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Student of Applied Linguistics at the University of Warsaw. Enthusiast of books, movies, and music. In her free time, she rides a bike, swims, and goes for walks. In the future, she dreams of a career as a translator.