Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'd guess as opposed to but I'm not sure.

This property must be set as opposed to X (one or another, not both)

How can this can be better?

share|improve this question
add comment

6 Answers

I don't think "as opposed to" does what you want here. Instead of "one or the other, but not both," it means "this one, not that one."

How about: The property must be set as either X or Y. ("Either" suggests that the "or" isn't inclusive.)

share|improve this answer
    
+1 for "Either" implies that the "or" isn't inclusive –  Miserable Variable Aug 30 '12 at 1:48
1  
"Either" is suggestive of 'exclusive or', but only that. I certainly wouldn't say it does anything as strong as "implies". –  Chan-Ho Suh Aug 30 '12 at 2:04
    
Edited to "suggests." –  Kelly Tessena Keck Aug 30 '12 at 13:15
add comment

X or Y must be set but not both

is short and unambiguous.

share|improve this answer
    
Careful. The meaning doesn't match the original. The question refers to two distinct properties (with no mention of their values), not a single binary property. –  user113215 Aug 30 '12 at 14:13
    
I hold that it isn't the same at all. Compare "Your dessert may be ice cream or cake" (enumerating possible values for one property) with "You may have either an appetizer or a dessert" (separate properties that are mutually exclusive, with no mention of the possible values). –  user113215 Aug 31 '12 at 1:12
add comment

Properties X and Y are mutually exclusive.

share|improve this answer
    
Careful. The meaning doesn't match the original. The question refers to two distinct properties (with no mention of their values), not a single binary property. –  user113215 Aug 30 '12 at 14:13
    
You are correct, I got caught up in some other interpretations here. I have corrected it. –  Jim Aug 30 '12 at 14:31
add comment

You don't want as opposed to here: A as opposed to B means A (only), not B.

There are several ways of saying what you want; one may be more graceful than another in a particular context, but any of them will work:

Either [this property] must be set, or [property X], but not both.
You must set either [this property] or [property X], but not both.
You must set exactly one of [this property] and [property X].
Set one, but not both, of [this property] and [property X].
Select one property to set: [this property] or [property X].

share|improve this answer
    
+1 this is the most complete and accurate answer. –  Chan-Ho Suh Aug 30 '12 at 3:28
2  
"Either" already means "but not both". If your audience is literate enough, use just "either"; if not, use just "but not both". –  MSalters Aug 30 '12 at 8:35
    
@MSalters I agree with you; but the Golden Rule for Writers is a corollary of Murphy's Law: If a passage can be misunderstood, it will be. –  StoneyB Aug 30 '12 at 11:38
    
add comment

If neither property is required, then consider phrasing it in the negative:

You may not set both [property X] and [property Y].

For clarity, also consider including the result of ignoring this requirement:

Attempting to set both properties will result in an IllegalStateException.

-or-

The most recently set property takes precedence.

share|improve this answer
add comment

If I understand your question correctly, "Set only one: A or B," would be clear and simple.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.