Student or Learner
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.
These thories are discredited by their operation and or construction related obscurities.?
Thanks a lot.
What is an operation- or construction-related obscurity?
weak points of a theory as regards its construction (the way it is built up) and operation
Could you please show me your version of my sentence then?
These theories are thoroughly discredited by their operation- or construction-related obscurities.What do you think?
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.
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.