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  1. #1
    rabalac is offline Newbie
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    Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Are there any circumstances where one of these terms can be used but not the other? If there are, I dare you to write a sentence where only one of these words could be used.

  2. #2
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by rabalac View Post
    Are there any circumstances where one of these terms can be used but not the other? If there are, I dare you to write a sentence where only one of these words could be used.
    You dare us? LOL

    "When I attempted to run this program, I got illegal operation message"

  3. #3
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    There are other circumstances too. The word "unlawful" is/was used to refer to a child born to an unmarried couple. "Illigal" has never been used that way, at least to my knowledge. A love affair can also be called unlawful and legal at the same time.
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 15-Apr-2011 at 15:42. Reason: typo

  4. #4
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Heroin and cocaine are illegal drugs- I have never heard them described as unlawful drugs.

  5. #5
    rabalac is offline Newbie
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    You dare us? LOL

    "When I attempted to run this program, I got illegal operation message"
    Oh come on! An illegal operation has no legal ramification. It is purely a technical term within computing parlance. But nice try though. LOL.

  6. #6
    rabalac is offline Newbie
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Heroin and cocaine are illegal drugs- I have never heard them described as unlawful drugs.
    Point duly noted.

  7. #7
    5jj's Avatar
    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    The word "unlawful" is/was used to refer to a child born to an unmarried couple. "Illegal" has never been used that way, at least to my knowledge. A love affair can also be called unlawful and legal at the same time.
    Although married couples were lawfully wedded, I have not heard of an illegitimate child (i.e. one born to an unmarried couple) referred to as an unlawful child.

    Equally, I have not heard of a love affair called unlawful and legal; It may be illicit, but I don't think it's unlawful unless it's illegal.

  8. #8
    freezeframe is offline Key Member
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by rabalac View Post
    Oh come on! An illegal operation has no legal ramification. It is purely a technical term within computing parlance. But nice try though. LOL.
    You did not give any parameters aside from the two words. If you are going to issue dares, you should word them more carefully.

  9. #9
    birdeen's call is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Example 1 unlawful = illegitimate

    Example 2 unlawful = illicit (His love wasn't illegal. Laws don't forbid feelings.)

    I have no patience to look for an example of an unlawful love affair that was not illegal, but I also don't think it's necessary. Example 2 tells us that "unlawful" can (or could) be used in the meaning of "illicit".

    It may have been better if I'd written "can/could" as I did with "is/was".
    Last edited by birdeen's call; 15-Apr-2011 at 20:10. Reason: typo

  10. #10
    5jj's Avatar
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    Re: Illegal vs. Unlawful

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Although married couples were lawfully wedded, I have not heard of an illegitimate child [...] referred to as an unlawful child.

    Equally, I have not heard of a love affair called unlawful and legal; It may be illicit, but I don't think it's unlawful unless it's illegal.
    Well, I wasn't lying. I hadn't read BC's 1839 and 1859 books.

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