Commonly Confused Words: Eminent vs. Imminent vs. Immanent

by | May 8, 2022 | Commonly Confused Words, GrammarSpot | 0 comments

If you want to write a story about an eminent astrologist with an immanent belief in an imminent asteroid strike, think again! Most people get confused when one of these words shows up in a sentence, but using eminent, immanent and imminent together may baffle readers and send them into an imminent mental meltdown. That is because most people don’t know the difference between the three words. If you don’t have a crystal ball to help you through the confusion and you want to know more about how to successfully use eminent vs. immanent vs. imminent, keep reading.


Eminent vs imminent vs immanent

Eminent vs. Imminent vs. Immanent at a Glance

If you are confused about the difference between eminent, imminent and immanent, you aren’t alone. Some adjectives are seldom used in general writing, and these are three of them. To help clarify the confusion you may have about the words, check out the following definitions.

* Eminent refers to a distinguished, respected or famous individual. However, it can also describe an object when emphasizing a uniquely positive quality.

* Imminent means something is about to happen, usually threatening. It states an event is looming.

* Immanent can describe something inherent, but it can also refer to an inner mental state, dwelling within, or something restricted to the mind.


What’s the Difference Between Eminent and Imminent and Immanent?

Although the words eminent, imminent and immanent look much alike, they have very different meanings. When writing about a respected individual, use eminent. If you are blogging about a threatening situation, use imminent. Writing about a mental state of mind or a condition surrounding God, use immanent.


When To Use Eminent

When a person stands out or has achieved something in their field that surpasses many others, they are said to be eminent individuals. This term is most commonly used in scholarly fields or government departments. Eminent can also refer to an object’s extraordinary qualities.

Examples of using eminent in a sentence:

  • An eminent university professor held classes all week, but there was standing room only for the lectures. (renowned scholar)
  • The military referred to the four-star general as an eminent state department favorite. (famous)
  • The violin’s eminent tones reverberated through the theater, causing many to weep. (extraordinary sound)


When To Use Imminent

Imminent is often associated with the pain, dread or danger of an event that is about to happen. When writing about an impending incident, imminent can also refer to a threatening situation.

Examples of using imminent in a sentence:

  • Joy’s husband paced the hospital floor as he waited for the imminent news about her car accident. (painful event)
  • The hurricane was declared a class four as the imminent winds finally hit, reaching 150 mph. (dangerous event)
  • Volcanologists believed the west coast was in imminent danger of a historic eruption. (threatening event)
  • The kitchen fire became imminent when the cooking grease in the pan burst into flames. (impending event)


When To Use Immanent

When writing about a mental state of being, something inherent, or having to do with God’s existence in the universe, use immanent. The secret here is to remember the focus of immanent is inside the individual. Did you notice that immanent contains the word “man” while the other two do not? You can use that clue to identify something inside man or having to do with God when trying to decide which of the three words to use. Let’s keep that little secret to ourselves, okay?

Examples of using immanent in a sentence:

  • The divine mystery of humanity is thought to be immanent within each individual. (mental state)
  • Goddesses and gods are immanent in Roman literature. (inherent)
  • Most people believe in an immanent deity that created the universe in some way. (God within)
  • Some individuals focus on the immanent decay of humanity instead of looking at man’s creativity as a positive counterforce. (inner being)
  • Many philosophers claim that love is the strongest and most immanent force in the world. (dwelling within)


Eminent vs imminent vs immanent definition

Eminent vs. Imminent vs. Immanent: Bursting the Confusion Bubble

Although eminent vs. imminent vs. immanent are all adjectives, they are very different. Using the clue about the word “man” hidden within immanent can help you quickly identify how to use it. Since eminent is the only one of the three words to begin with an “e,” think of it as famously different, and you can easily differentiate that one, too. That only leaves the dangerous word imminent to stand all alone. Wasn’t that easy?

If you are still struggling to differentiate between eminent vs. imminent vs. immanent, comment below and tell us how we can help. Also, if you have other words that confuse you, let us know in the comment section.