Imminent vs. Eminent vs. Immanent

This may not be a problem you encounter often, but I think it’s helpful to know. These words are not interchangeable, and I don’t think that’s something I really understood until recently. So, if you learn the differences now, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of where I was up until just a few months ago.

Eminent = prominent or famous (most common)


Eminent Domain is the government using its prominent position in society as an excuse to take private land.

When Bill Gates had a banquet for all the tech innovators of America, there were many eminent businessmen in attendance.

Imminent = immediately threatening, coming soon


The storm on the horizon was imminent.

My big break was just around the corner; I could feel its imminence.

If you put pop rocks in your cat’s litter box, a bad situation is imminent.

Illustration: Tony Jackson
Immanent = inherent, present through the universe (God or something immaterial)


God’s power is immanent in our lives.

Hunger is an immanent part of human existence. Unless you’re eating all the time. Then I guess it’s not.

Here are a few tricks that might help you remember the differences:

Immanent – God created man in His own image.

Imminent – Immediate or “It’s going to happen in a minute.”

Eminent – Eminem was arguably the most famous/prominent rapper in the world during the early 2000s.

Illustration: Tony Jackson

Maybe this isn’t something you’ll ever need to know in a practical sense, but it will broaden your understanding of the English language if you learn the differences anyway.

So there you go.

Go forth in eminence and prepare for your imminent success in the communicative world.