Quick, which one? Imminent vs. eminent

Oh what a difference two letters make! Such is the case with imminent vs. eminent.

Eminent refers to a distinguished person, as in The eminent explorer spoke to members of the Los Angeles Geographical Society.

Imminent means about to happen and often implies something that is bad, as in One New York City official said bankruptcy was imminent.

Imagine if the spellings in the above two sentences were reversed. An “imminent explorer” wouldn’t make sense, and a city declaring bankruptcy certainly isn’t distinguished!