Most words only have one correct negative prefix out of "in-", "im-", and "un-". Why are both "imbalance" and "unbalance" both grammatically correct (but "inbalance" is not")? What are differences in meaning and usage of these two opposites of "balance"? Can they be regarded as synonyms of each other? Are there any other examples of such co-existing variants with different uses?

  • Have you looked these words up in (say) the Oxford Dictionaries online? If you did, you will have noticed one important grammatical difference. As you know, ELU asks for questioners to indicate their conclusions from their own research and set out their question in the light of that. Of course, sometimes ‘the exception proves the rule’! – Tuffy May 8 at 12:28

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