Professional Style

Emigrate vs. Immigrate

January 2011
Spot the Error

Even though Niels emigrated to the United States as a child, he still retains his Swedish accent.

Many (many, many) moons ago in middle school, when I had emigrate and immigrate as vocabulary words, I used this mnemonic device to remember the difference:

  • Emigrate – to exit a country (emigrate and exit both begin with “e”).
  • Immigrate – to go into a country (immigrate and into both begin with “i”).

Once I got that down, I had to remember the prepositions that follow those words:

When someone exits a place he “exits from”; not “exits to.” The same applies to the word emigrate. Niels emigrated from Sweden; he didn’t emigrate to the United States.

Immigrate takes the preposition to or into. So, in the “accent” sentence above, Niels immigrated to the United States as a child.

Check out more writing tips below…


Search Tips by Topic

Professional Style Monthly Subscription

Sign up to get Professional Style delivered straight to your inbox every month. It’s FREE, and you can’t beat FREE!

Don’t worry ... we keep your information safe from those pesky spammers.