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eminent, imminent - vocabulary

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  Ed Good  —  Grammar Tips
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Eminent: high in station or rank, prominent, distinguished; prominent; conspicuous. To show the highest in stature, use preeminent (no hyphen).

In law, the power of eminent domain is the power of a government to take private property for public use.

With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespear when I measure my mind against his.... But I am bound to add that I pity the man who cannot enjoy Shakespear. He has outlasted thousands of abler thinkers, and will outlast a thousand more.

—George Bernard Shaw “Blaming the Bard” Saturday Review, September 26, 1896

Imminent: likely to occur at any moment.

Probably the only place where a man can feel really secure is in a maximum security prison, except for the imminent threat of release.

—Germaine Greer “Security” The Female Eunuch (1970)’s section on Problem Words discusses eminent and imminent. Click here for that discussion.

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