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Is the following usage of "prohibit" correct?

The disk crash prohibited me from saving the file.

I have an opinion, but want to hear what others think before I share it.

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Probly not. Prohibit usually refers to official forbiddance, and can be flouted, whereas prevent is a Neg-if Predicate, which entails the falsity of its complement. Hence, They prohibited me from coming, but I showed up anyway is grammatical, but *They prevented me from coming, but I showed up anyway is not. –  John Lawler Oct 3 '13 at 19:35
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

To prohibit an action is to lay down a rule that informs someone that they cannot perform that action.

To prevent the action is to actually stop it.

For example, I can put up a sign on a lawn that says "Walking on the grass is prohibited", but to actually prevent anyone from walking on the grass, I could put up a fence around it, preventing people from walking on the grass.

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Prohibited is used for when doing something is officially denied to you, whereas prevent is used for the careful measures you use or must have used to avoid a particular situation or happening. In the question asked by you, use of prohibited is grammatically correct, but using prevented sounds much better.

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Please use proper capitalization in your answers, and refrain from textspeak, such as "u" for "you". (After all, this site is devoted to the serious study of English.) –  J.R. Oct 4 '13 at 0:56
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'Prohibited' suggests some kind of legal constraint, so it's probably not appropriate here.

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