RE: Use of "and/or"

Subject: RE: Use of "and/or"
From: "Sagendorph, Wallace" <WIS8 -at- CDC -dot- GOV>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2005 08:36:45 -0500

Dick M. wrote:

It is used commonly but not correctly. "Or" is inclusive. "A or B"
includes the case A and not B, the case B and not A, and the case A and
B. As this is fundamental in the precise language of symbolic logic, it
follows that someone attempting to use language precisely (as lawyers
and engineers often claim to do) should be more than satisfied with just

plain ol' "or."

* * *

I have been fighting --- more or less unsuccessfully --- for years
against "and/or." At times I have been close to raising the white flag
and allowing the "and/or" adherents to ride roughshod over my prostrate

But I glean renewed hope from this thread: like-minded practitioners who
believe, as do I, that "A or B" will serve well in most instances; if
however someone requires more assurance, "A or B or both" will serve

Another point: many of our documents are translated. "And/or" drives the
translators nuts because it has no counterpart in other languages ---
including Spanish, into which most of our (and I suspect most of
everyone else's) documents are translated.



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