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What is the best way to join 'or' and 'and' together? 'or/and' or 'and/or'?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Become a logician and say or. :^)

I also vote for and/or but dislike it stylistically. So here are some alternatives.

You can have cake and/or death. --> You can have cake or death or both. -OR- You can have cake, death, or both.

You can have cake, death, whippings, and/or nuts. --> You can have any or all of cake, death, whippings, or nuts. -OR- You can have any combination of....

You must have cake and/or death. --> You can't have neither cake nor death.

Maybe the last one is a stretch for non-technically-minded audiences. Maybe.

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I don't want neither cake nor death. –  Noah Aug 23 '12 at 18:58

I've only seen it as "and/or" and "and or" without the slash. I have not seen it in the form "or/and" before!

EDIT: I would actually try and avoid it if possible by rewriting!

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2  
RE avoiding it: "Or" is normally understood to include the "and" case when the options are not clearly mutually exclusive. Peronally I save "and/or" for cases where there is serioius danger of ambiguity. Otherwise your text gets littered with this awkward construct. –  Jay Aug 23 '12 at 15:54
    
Strunk and White's And/or entry in their book The Elements of Style: "A device, or shortcut, that damages a sentence and often leads to confusion or ambiguity." –  JLG Aug 23 '12 at 16:13

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