Humanities › English The Difference Between Emigrate and Immigrate Share Flipboard Email Print Dave Bradley Photography/Getty Images English English Grammar An Introduction to Punctuation Writing By Richard Nordquist English and Rhetoric Professor Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester B.A., English, State University of New York Dr. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks. our editorial process Richard Nordquist Updated October 03, 2017 These two verbs have similar meanings, but they differ in point of view.Emigrate means to leave one country to settle in another. Immigrate means to settle in a country where one isn't a native. Emigrate stresses leaving; immigrate stresses arriving. For example, from the point of view of the British, you emigrate when you leave England to settle in Canada. From the point of view of the Canadians, you have immigrated to Canada and are considered an immigrant. Emigrate describes the move relative to the place of departure. Immigrate describes it relative to the place of arrival. Examples The film Amreeka tells the story of a Palestinian mother and son who emigrate from the West Bank to Illinois.The modern American Christmas tree originated with German Lutherans and spread to Pennsylvania after they began to immigrate here in the 18th century. Practice Understanding the Difference (a) When my grandparents decided to _____ to the U.S., there was no one waiting for them here.(b) At the end of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, thousands of people were compelled to _____ from Asia Minor to Greece. Answers (a) When my grandparents decided to immigrate to the U.S., there was no one waiting for them here.(b) At the end of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922, thousands of people were compelled to emigrate from Asia Minor to Greece.