In this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of spelling tips we will be looking at some of the most commonly misspelled words in English and suggesting ways to improve your spelling.
People looking up the noun in Macmillan Dictionary sometimes mistakenly spell it *imigrant. The same applies to related words such as immigrate and immigration. It may be that they are confused by the spelling of the ‘pair’ of immigrant,网络斗牛游 ’emigrant’, which has a single ‘m’.
As so often with English spelling, the reasons can be found in the words’ etymologies. Immigrant comes from the Latin verb ‘immigrare’, which is formed from the prefix ‘im-‘ and the verb ‘migrare’. ‘Im-‘ means the same as ‘in-‘ and is used when the word it’s attached to begins with b, m or p; so instead of ‘in-migrate’ you get ‘im-migrate’. This modification took place in Latin and is still found in English (and French) words of Latin origin. ‘Emigrate,’ ’emigrant’ and so on also come from Latin and are formed from the prefix ‘e-‘ (or ex-) meaning ‘out’ and ‘migrare’, and so only have one ‘m’.
You can find some information on why English spelling is so difficult, as well as helpful tips on mastering it . You can search for other posts in this series using the tag ‘spelling tips’.
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