Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 15

    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 212
    #1

    and/or

    Dear Friends,

    In Hungarian we use the following 'and/or' structure:

    These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- and/or construction-related obscurities.

    Is it the same in English or do you use something else instead, say:

    These theories are discredited by their operation and or construction-related obscurities.

    or

    These thories are discredited by their operation and or construction related obscurities.?


    Thanks a lot.

    Palinkasocsi

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 907
    #2

    Re: and/or

    Dear palinkasocsi:

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    Dear Friends,

    In Hungarian we use the following 'and/or' structure:

    These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- and/or construction-related obscurities. Yes, this form is quite common.

    Is it the same in English or do you use something else instead, say:

    These theories are discredited by their operation and or construction-related obscurities.

    or

    These thories are discredited by their operation and or construction related obscurities.?


    Thanks a lot.

    Palinkasocsi

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,581
    #3

    Re: and/or

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    Dear Friends,

    In Hungarian we use the following 'and/or' structure:

    These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- and construction-related obscurities.

    "And/or" (like "s/he") is common but not standard. To avoid sounding like a sloppy American and annoying David L., pick one: "and" or "or." One or the other always works.

    Is it the same in English or do you use something else instead, say:

    These theories are discredited by their operation and or construction-related obscurities. Worse. Your hyphens are out of control.

    or

    These thories are discredited by their operation and or construction related obscurities.? Worse. Your hyphens has evaporated altogether!


    Thanks a lot.

    Palinkasocsi
    You're welcome!

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

  2. RonBee's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2003
    • Posts: 16,551
    #4

    Re: and/or

    What is an operation- or construction-related obscurity?



    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 212
    #5

    Re: and/or

    weak points of a theory as regards its construction (the way it is built up) and operation

    Palinkasocsi


    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 212
    #6

    Re: and/or

    Hi Charlie,

    Could you please show me your version of my sentence then?

    Palinkasocsi

  3. RonBee's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • American English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Feb 2003
    • Posts: 16,551
    #7

    Re: and/or

    How about:
    These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- or construction-related obscurities.
    What do you think?



    • Join Date: Apr 2008
    • Posts: 212
    #8

    Re: and/or

    It's a bit more complicated, since there are three groups of theories:

    1. those that are only structurally problematic
    2. those that are only operationally challenged
    3. those that are both structurally and operationally problematic

    That's why the "or"-structure alone is not enough. We need some "and/or" structure.

    Palinkasocsi

  4. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,581
    #9

    Re: and/or

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    How about:
    These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- or construction-related obscurities.
    What do you think?

    Yup. That's how I'd do it.

  5. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,581
    #10

    Re: and/or

    Quote Originally Posted by palinkasocsi View Post
    It's a bit more complicated, since there are three groups of theories:

    1. those that are only structurally problematic
    2. those that are only operationally challenged
    3. those that are both structurally and operationally problematic

    That's why the "or"-structure alone is not enough. We need some "and/or" structure.

    Palinkasocsi
    Okay. Deep breath. I know that in technical or legal writing, and/or is sometimes called for. But it's a virtue of plain language to avoid it. Let's set aside (just for a moment - we'll get there) the fact that it's not standard English.

    Here's the sentence:

    "These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- and/or construction-related obscurities."

    An operation-related obscurity alone is enough to discredit any one of them. Likewise, a construction-related obscurity alone is enough to discredit any one of them.

    That means it takes at least one of the two to discredit any of them.

    In other words, an operation-related obscurity or a construction-related obscurity will discredit any one of them.

    Of course, if any one of them has both an operation- and construction-related obscurity, it's been killed twice. The fact remains, however, that one or the other is enough to do it in.

    So and/or is unneeded. It's like saying: "Never come on a Tuesday, and don't come next Tuesday, either." Next Tuesday doesn't need to be killed, because it's already dead.

    In other situations (as you're beginning to imagine), and is the better choice. In fact, you can make a reasonable case for and here, too: If we take "these theories" as an aggregate, then the whole of them, as a group, are discredited by their unforgivable obscurities.

    So, that's all. I wouldn't lock up anyone for using and/or - it's not a high crime - but I will argue that "and/or" has never graduated to standard English-hood precisely because it's not only awkward and wordy, but unnecessary. You can usually think about it for a second and realize that only one is needed - and which one you prefer. As Bob did above.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. Which of A and/or B
    By Unregistered in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-Mar-2009, 04:34
  2. and/or
    By navi tasan in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 06-Apr-2008, 02:50
  3. "far away" and/or "faraway"
    By eduardo in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 15-Nov-2006, 16:28
  4. Does speaking well indicate intelligence and/or education?
    By CitySpeak in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 06-Dec-2003, 17:50
  5. Young People Learning English and/or Putonghua
    By Red5 in forum General Language Discussions
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 20-Oct-2003, 20:53

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •