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    Mehrgan's Avatar
    Mehrgan is offline Key Member
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    Question "lawful', 'legitimate', and 'legal'

    Hi all,

    I know this is a repetitive question to many posters, but still a problem for me! I've checked the Longman Activator, but it didn't help at all. I just wonder if it's only a case of collocations, or some distinctive elements that help a native speaker to realise when to use which!

    I'd appreciate it if anyone could give me any hint!


    Many thanks!

  2. #2
    nyota's Avatar
    nyota is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: "lawful', 'legitimate', and 'legal'

    From Oxford:

    lawful
    1) allowed by law, legal - take power by lawful means
    2) recognised by law - his lawful heir, a lawfully elected government

    legal
    1) allowed or required by law - drink more than the legal limit of alcohol for drinking
    2) based on or concerned with the law - seek legal advice, the company's legal adviser

    legitimate
    1) in accordance with the law or rules, legal - I'm not sure that his business is strictly legitimate
    2) that can be defended, reasonable - a perfectly legitimate argument
    3) born to parents who are legally married to each other

    I guess where meanings overlap, collocations play a role. Perhaps native speakers could spot some nuances within related definitions.

    So much for making it clearer. ;)

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