emigrate vs. immigrate

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jcho321, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. jcho321 Member

    I understand that you emigrate FROM a country, and you immigrate TO a country.
    But, someone said there is an exception.
    If I'm in Korea, and when I talk about a friend who used to live in Korea, but now living in Canada, I say:

    He doesn't live here now. He emigrated to Canada.

    Is this true??
  2. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    Yes, we use it all the time. He emigrated [from Korea] to Canada.
  3. jcho321 Member

    Can I just say, "He immigrated to Canada"?

    Or do I have to say "emigrate" in that case?
  4. Thomas Tompion Senior Member

    Southwest France
    English - England
    I think we say to emigrate from X to Y, but don't use immigrate much unless we are in the country to which he moved, when we say he immigrated from X, or just he immigrated or he was an immigrant (from X).
  5. jcho321 Member

    I see. So, if I'm speaking from Korea, I have to say:
    He emigrated to Canada.

    If I live in Canada, I have to say:
    He immigrated to Canada.

    What if I live in the US, do I say:
    He "emigrated to Canada" or "immigrated to Canada"??

    I guess the best way is:
    He emigrated from Korea to Canada.
    He immigrated to Canada from Korea.

    but what if I want to make the sentence short??
  6. Copyright

    Copyright Senior Member

    American English
    You can make it short or you can make it clear. Go for clear.

    Keep in mind that if two of you are in the U.S. and you're talking about someone who lives in Korea and you both know he lives in Korea, you can certainly say "He emigrated to Canada" -- because you both know the country of origin.

    Again, it's all about clarity. If something is mutually understood it doesn't need to be spelled out in detail.
  7. Rival Senior Member

    English - UK
    You might find it easier if you think of emigrate = "go away", and immigrate = "come in".

    So, when I emigrate from a country, I go away to live in another country -- when I immigrate, I come to live in a new place.

    Example : When we read that the USA has problems about "illegal immigrants", we know this means people who have come into the country illegally.
  8. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
  9. Spira Banned

    South of France
    UK English
    The distinction between emigrating and immigrating is identical to the distinction between coming and going. It all depends on the point of view of the speaker (or writer).
    To the Algerian govt their people emigrate in large numbers to France. The French govt views the same movement as immigration.

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