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What's the difference between them?

I understand they are pretty much the same in terms of synonym. Are they better suited for some specific scenarios?

I think, in some cases, those three could be used interchanged, but there are other cases that one or another would be better for disambiguation purposes.

I have being using them like this:

  • Unofficial: Nobody gave authorization or confirmation. Normally when I want to denote use or source of something.
  • Non-Official: Outside official knowledge. Normally when I want to point something that is outside the approval of the company or a government or any entity (for instance, non-official statements, non-official car...).
  • Extra-Official: When I'm pointing to something that is outside a predefined scope. For instance, there are a set of rules or approved official things (information, software, group of people... anything) but the thing is not part of that scope.

Is there a better definition or use of those three words?

Edit: Based on the following definition, my understand is that "Extra-Official", depending on the scenario, could have a significant difference than the other two.

  • I'm not familiar with the use of "extra-official" in standard American English. You are using the other two correctly. – Mark Hubbard Mar 23 '17 at 15:41
  • @MarkHubbard , thanks, that's quite a relief! Regarding the Extra-official, here is a link that may clarify its usage. – vianna77 Mar 23 '17 at 15:50
  • Thank you! I'm always glad to learn something new. In formal writing, the hyphenated "extra-official" would be correctly understood, but in speech it could sound sarcastic, since informally, extra can mean "especially." For example, to say out loud "His actions were extra-official" could mean either. In those situations, it might be better to say something like "His actions were not officially sanctioned" to insure clarity. Just a thought. – Mark Hubbard Mar 23 '17 at 18:18
  • Yep... that's my understand too. I think "extra-official" brings a lot of ambiguity to the phrase. That's why I raised that question here. At work I already explained that we should go with Non/Un instead of Extra. – vianna77 Mar 23 '17 at 19:13

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