Today’s topic is illegal versus unlawful.
Practically, there is no difference for punishment purposes. Both illegal and unlawful acts can get you into trouble.
Interesting! So Jed had better not eat and rock out on the bus.
I found a couple of interesting things while I was reading about prefixes. First, un- (as in unlawful) is an English prefix, and in- (as in injustice) is the corresponding Latin prefix.
And then second, il- (as in illegal, illicit, and illegitimate) is considered to be a form of the prefix in- (as in injustice and indivisible).
It works a little bit like how you choose to use the words a or an depending on whether the next word starts with a consonant or vowel sound. In this case, the prefix in- gets changed to il- when the word starts with the letter l, and it also gets changed to im- when the word starts with a p or b, as in impossible and imbalance.
There's bonus information on the Grammar Girl website about the prefix in-.
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