The similarity of the letters e and i leads to frequent confusion between similar-looking and similar-sounding pairs of words. Here are five such word pairs with their respective meanings and tips for keeping each word in its place:
1. Elicit vs. Illicit
Elicit, meaning “draw forth,” comes from the Latin term lacere, “to entice or lure.” Illicit means “unlawful”; the root word stems from the Latin term licere, “to be allowed,” from which license also derives. To keep them separate in your mind, connect elicit with exit and illicit with illegal.
2. Emigrate vs. Immigrate
To emigrate is to leave one country and live elsewhere; to immigrate is to move to a country. To maintain the distinction between the two, associate emigrate with embark and immigrate with immerse.
3. Eminent vs. Imminent