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  1. #1
    maoyueh is offline Member
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    illegal, unlawful etc.

    I know that not all synonyms are interchangeable in a certain context, but some certainly are.

    Please take a look at the following sentence:

    "Running a red light is (A. illegal, B. unlawful, C. against the law, D. illicit."

    I know that A and C are correct and natural, but are B and D also natural ? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Grumpy's Avatar
    Grumpy is offline Senior Member
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    Re: illegal, unlawful etc.

    B. is; D. isn't.
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

  3. #3
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: illegal, unlawful etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
    B. is; D. isn't.
    Which is interesting when you think about it. "Illicit" is an adjective meaning "forbidden by law". "Illegal" is an adjective meaning "forbidden by law". Yet we would use the latter in that context but not the former. Theoretically all four choices should be possible yet we all agree that only A, B and C would be used. We tend to use "illicit" only before a noun.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

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