LessonWord Pairs

Immigrate and Emigrate

Many people don’t know that IMMIGRATE is not the only word to describe the movement of a person between two countries. There is another word, EMIGRATE, that also describes the movement of a person between two countries. Yet they are not interchangeable, despite the fact that they sound very similar and they both discuss the same general topic. Let’s take a look:

IMMIGRATE is a verb, meaning “to ARRIVE in other country of residence.” The noun form is IMMIGRATION.
EMIGRATE is a verb, meaning “to LEAVE one country of residence and move to another.” The noun form is EMIGRATION.

For example, “Her grandparents IMMIGRATED to the United States from Ireland.”
For example, “Alexander’s family EMIGRATED from Hungary to live in France.”

When you immigrate, you go TO one place FROM another.
When you emigrate, you go FROM one place TO another.

One way to remember the correct word is to use Latin:
Immigrate has prefix “im” from Latin “in” = “into.” An Immigrant goes INTO a new country.
Emigrate has prefix “e” from Latin “ex” = “out of.” An Emigrant goes OUT of his former country. 
(Note: migrate/migrant come from “migro, migrare,” Latin for “move, change residence.”)

If the Latin is hard for you, here’s a little memory trick that also works:
Immigrate = Into (a country)
Emigrate = Exit (a country)

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