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Thread: and vs or


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    #1

    and vs or

    Hello teachers

    I understand that 'and' means something plus something and 'or' means either this or that.

    1a) My mother cannot speak Malay or English.
    1b) My mother cannot speak Malay and English.

    2a) She is not good at writing and reading.
    2b) She is not good at writing or reading.

    Do the above sentences have the same meaning? If not, what are the rules that govern the use of 'and' and 'or'?

    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: and vs or

    Quote Originally Posted by PelajarBaru View Post
    Hello teachers

    I understand that 'and' means something plus something and 'or' means either this or that.

    1a) My mother cannot speak Malay or English.
    1b) My mother cannot speak Malay and English.

    2a) She is not good at writing and reading.
    2b) She is not good at writing or reading.

    Do the above sentences have the same meaning? If not, what are the rules that govern the use of 'and' and 'or'?

    Thank you.
    Not a teacher,
    No, they are not the same.
    It is easier to consider the positive sentences first:

    1/ She can speak Malay and English
    2/ She can speak Malay or English

    They are clearly different, don't you think?

    Now look at the negative forms:

    1/ She can speak Malay and English => 1'/ She can not speak Malay or English
    2/ She can speak Malay or English => 2'/ She cannot speak Malay and English

    1' and 2' are negative sentences of 1 and 2 that are different therefore 1' and 2' are clearly different.

    This is not the problem of English but the one of logic. Hope you get my point.


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    #3

    Re: and vs or

    Useless, useless... logic is not English; the student wants to know when to use which form.

    "My mother can speak Malay and English" would be a good answer to the question, "What languages does your mother speak?" "My mother can speak Malay or English" would be a good answer to the question, "The visitors can speak French, Malay, Chinese, and English. Will your mother be able to speak to them?"

    "She is not good at writing and reading" should be "She is not good at reading and writing" in English (reading and writing is in the order we say it in English). In this particular case, "She is not good at reading or writing" would be equivalent, and you could use either one.

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    #4

    Re: and vs or

    Quote Originally Posted by PelajarBaru View Post
    Hello teachers

    I understand that 'and' means something plus something and 'or' means either this or that.

    1a) My mother cannot speak Malay or English.
    1b) My mother cannot speak Malay and English.

    2a) She is not good at writing and reading.
    2b) She is not good at writing or reading.

    Do the above sentences have the same meaning? If not, what are the rules that govern the use of 'and' and 'or'?

    Thank you.
    Tricky question! Here's a simple answer:

    Both forms are good grammar, but because it follows not and cannot, the or form is more common.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

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    #5

    Re: and vs or

    Quote Originally Posted by Charlie Bernstein View Post
    Tricky question! Here's a simple answer:

    Both forms are good grammar, but because it follows not and cannot, the or form is more common.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]
    Sorry to differ but both of them are grammatical and common.

    I am not an English teacher.


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    #6

    Re: and vs or

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Sorry to differ but both of them are grammatical and common.

    I am not an English teacher.
    Sorry to be contrary, but you aren't differing. Charlie didn't say either usage was uncommon, merely that one of them was more common. And he's right.

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    #7

    Re: and vs or

    Quote Originally Posted by Speedwell View Post
    Sorry to be contrary, but you aren't differing. Charlie didn't say either usage was uncommon, merely that one of them was more common. And he's right.
    Charlie has said that one form was more common than the other and my point is that this is not the problem of common usage. They are not these forms of an object therefore they cannot be compared.
    I have said that this is the problem (or question) of logic, it did not depend on the language we used to write those sentences. To be more clear: these sentences that the poster has asked are not the same.


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    #8

    Re: and vs or

    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    Not a teacher,
    No, they are not the same.
    It is easier to consider the positive sentences first:

    1/ She can speak Malay and English
    2/ She can speak Malay or English

    They are clearly different, don't you think?

    Now look at the negative forms:

    1/ She can speak Malay
    Quote Originally Posted by hanky View Post
    and English => 1'/ She can not speak Malay or English
    2/ She can speak Malay
    or English => 2'/ She cannot speak Malay and English

    1' and 2' are negative sentences of 1 and 2 that are different therefore 1' and 2' are clearly different.

    This is not the problem of English but the one of logic. Hope you get my point.


    I'm sorry but I do not get your point.
    Last edited by PelajarBaru; 18-Feb-2009 at 04:12. Reason: Typing Error

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