Re: Using and/or

Subject: Re: Using and/or
From: Steve Pendleton <SPendlet -at- COGNEX -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 17:52:11 -0700

We're missing the easy solution!
The ambiguity of OR can be eliminated
by adding the word "XOR" to English.
A new word for 'exclusive or' lets us
replace AND/OR with just OR, since
it will always mean 'inclusive or.'

We can further improve English by
introducing a new pronoun to distinguish
between the inclusive and exclusive
WE. Let's all reserve WE for 'all of us,
including you.' For the other case ('all of
us, but not you'), let's use the new
pronoun XWE.

The ambiguity of IS has been recently
discussed ad nauseum on the cable
talking heads shows. Suffice it to say
that IS and XIS would let us cleanly
distinguish between 'right now, strictly
excluding action in the past,' and 'now,
including ongoing action.' Present tense
verbs could reflect this by adding an
X suffix, as in 'Agnes likesX tacos.'

The best way to improve English on these
points is to carefully distinguish between
OR and XOR, WE and XWE, and IS and
XIS in ordinary conversation. For example,
'XWE'D likeX a half-caf double
tall mocha semi-fredo latte, XOR a
chocolate hazelnut scone, please.'

Steve Pendleton
Technical Writer DeLuxe
Cognex, Acumen Products Group

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