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Imbed vs. Embed

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2:10 min read
  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Is there any difference between "imbed" and "embed"? Do these word even exist as verbs? Is "imbed" a common misspelling nowadays? We'll answer all these questions quickly and simply in this article.

Imbed vs. Embed

"Imbed" and "embed" are equally correct spellings, both can be used with the exact same meaning and nothing will change your message if you prefer one against the other. In fact, there isn't even any official preference for one of them, not even from the British vs. American points of view. It's all about personal choice.

It is true, anyway, that "embed" is a lot more common today than "imbed", which is a quite older spelling. But this doesn't make it any different, far from defining it as wrong or misspelled. Plus, the fact that you might not find these verbs in some dictionaries also doesn't mean they are not recognized or considered correct; both verbs are existent and correct in the English vocabulary, and so are their derivates. Despite the popular belief some have, that because "embed" is the most often used form, "imbedded" shouldn't even be mentioned, you can correctly use both "embedded" and "imbedded" as adjectives in your sentences without any worry that you might be wrong.

When do we use "imbed"?

"Imbed" is the older version used when referring to the action of attaching something, such as fixing a paper on the surface of an envelope.
Example: I will imbed all the necessary documents to this letter. - "imbed" is synonym with "attach".

When do we use "embed"?

This one is more often used nowadays, but in the same contexts as "imbed". "Embed" is used to define the same action of attaching something, either physically, such as documents to a paper, or emotionally, such as getting some deep certain feelings.

Example 1: I will embed my diploma to this letter, as a proof for my qualifications. - "embed" refers to physically attaching something.

Example 2: If you don't ask for forgiveness, disappointment, shame and guilt will embed to your consciousness to deep that it will be difficult to get rid of them later. - "embed" can also refer to a metaphorical, emotional attachment of feelings or emotions to one's soul/mind.


To conclude everything as shortly as possible, there is literally no difference between "imbed" and "embed", respectively between "imbedded" and "embedded". Nothing requires one or the other spelling apart from your intuition - though we do recommend that you use "embed" if you don't want to get into any type of contradiction with less informed individuals.

Imbed vs. Embed

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