You often hear and see these two words used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference in their meanings. It depends on whether you are leaving or arriving.
IMMIGRATE is the word to use when referring to people entering a new country: Canada has experienced great interest from people wanting to immigrate to that country from the United States.
EMIGRATE is used to refer to people leaving a country to take up residence elsewhere: Many people are considering emigrating from the United States to Canada .
Peaks in the Mist
© Judi Birnberg
These three words all sound alike but are often misused.
PEEK means to sneak a glance, usually furtively. Adam peeked in the attic where the Christmas presents were stored.
PEAK is the apex of something: the top of a mountain, a gable on a house, the points on egg whites when they are whipped hard.
PIQUE as a noun is a feeling of annoyance, especially if one’s pride or honor is insulted.
PIQUE as a verb means to stimulate interest: A review of Ian McEwan’s latest book, Nutshell, piqued my interest in reading it. It is an achingly clever novel narrated by a full-term fetus (unnamed, but obviously a modern-day Hamlet, whose mother is Trudy, father is John, and doltish uncle and Trudy’s lover is Claude).
Latin lesson coming up:
If you are a female graduate, you are an alumna. Plural female graduates are alumnae.
If you’re a male graduate, you are an alumnus. Plural male graduates are alumni. Plural graduates of males and females are also alumni. Sexist, I know.
I must admit it bothers me when I see license plate frames reading UC BERKELEY ALUMNI. Why not make plates with the female and male words for graduates? I am not a plural male graduate from Cal. I am, however, a member of the Cal Alumni Association, a large mixed group, men and women. Go, Bears!
When you’re angry or frustrated, are you beside yourself or besides yourself? Here’s the difference:
BESIDES means in addition to.
Besides me, only three people showed up at the meeting.
BESIDE means next to, alongside.
At the meeting, I sat beside a woman I had never met before.
However, the expression beside myself (with frustration, for example) strikes me as odd. Obviously, it’s idiomatic; you can’t physically get next to yourself, no matter how hard you try. But if you are sufficiently frustrated, you might feel as if you have been torn into two people. I’m just guessing here.
As always, thank you, Brian B.
Steve’s looking incredulous.
These two words are often confused.
INCREDIBLE means difficult to believe:
Jumping from a plane at 25,000 feet without using supplementary oxygen and landing alive seems like an incredible feat; yet a man did this not too long ago.
INCREDULOUS means unable or unwilling to believe something:
If I had not seen the video myself, I would have been incredulous if someone had told me a person had jumped from a plane at 25,000 feet and lived.