Favorited Why don’t we have a word for and/or? Alexander Schneider on lexlblog

It’s the same in Dutch, we use ‘en/of‘, and there’s no specific word for it. In general it would be interesting to explore how different languages are able to convey a specific type of ambiguity or uncertainty by choice of words. How to express something while indicating you’re holding questions about the thing expressed.

(Lexlblog is a new addition to my feedreader, found through Ruben Schade’s Rubenerd blog)

Your wife tells you she invited Alice and Bob for dinner tonight. But you remember one of your wife’s many friends doesn’t eat wheat products. It won’t be a problem though, since there’s still some leftover rice. But if your wife asks if you’ve taken the guests into account, you might just answer “yes, I cooked spaghetti for Alice and/or Bob”.

Which brings me back to my initial question: Why don’t we have a word for and/or?

Alexander Schneider

4 reactions on “Why Don’t We Have a Word For And/Or?

  1. @ton At one point I tried to push for the logicians’ use, using “or” of “and/or” and “xor” (which I would pronounce “zore”) for “just or”. Obviously it didn’t catch on. 🙂

  2. @ton the assumption of exclusive or (rather than inclusive) used to be a pet peeve of mine, but no one else really seems to care. I always try to use the “either this or that” phrasing to make it clear about exclusivity.

    I agree it would be great if there was a proper word. The “and/or” phrase always looks awkward to me

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