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It seems like it would be really useful to have a single word like "anor" instead of the clunky "and/or" construction that people use. After all, "or" by itself is usually used to mean "exclusive or" in English.

I would like to visit the circus anor the museum today.

versus

I would like to visit the circus and/or the museum today.

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closed as primarily opinion-based by FumbleFingers, phenry, Bradd Szonye, RegDwigнt Feb 1 at 1:01

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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Actually "or" means either "and/or" or "xor". People say "and/or" to clarify that they do not mean "xor". –  jlovegren Jan 31 at 22:54
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There is, and the word is "and/or". Words are allowed to have punctuation in them. –  phenry Jan 31 at 22:55
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I suppose the fact that we don't have such a word might suggest we don't really need one. On the relatively few occasions when it's important to distinguish the logic operators OR and XOR, we can always just use and/or anyway, as phenry says. –  FumbleFingers Jan 31 at 22:57
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or better yet, just append "or both" rather than that word-glob "and/or". –  Oldcat Jan 31 at 23:15
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Right; I just hate the forward slash here because it's a punctuation mark that's really a short form for "or" itself. So "and/or" becomes "and or or". Should we really have to say "and or or" to mean the basic logical operator OR? –  ubanerjea Feb 1 at 17:15
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1 Answer 1

After all, "or" by itself is usually used to mean "exclusive or" in English.

No, it isn't. None of several common reference sources support the reading that "or" is usually an exclusive choice in written or spoken English. I'll quote the first:

OR —used as a function word to indicate an alternative (coffee or tea) (sink or swim), the equivalent or substitutive character of two words or phrases (lessen or abate), or approximation or uncertainty (in five or six days)

In most cases, the language requires you to infer the exclusiviity of the choice based on context.

Should you need to offer someone an exclusive choice, or wish to minimize the chance of confusion, the solution is to use more of our existing words rather than attempting to coin another.

I would you like either coffee or tea with your dinner?

You may pay your bill by either check, cash, credit card, or a combination of all three.

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But all of those examples are either exclusive alternatives (sink or swim, five or six days) or something other than the logical operator OR (e.g. "... lessen, or abate, ..." which is clarification by providing an equivalent substitute). –  ubanerjea Feb 1 at 17:11
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they aren't exclusive unless context requires them to be. "the recruits will sink or swim" allows for some to sink, some to swim, and even for some to do both. –  DougM Feb 1 at 17:21
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