Hello I have a question about "English logic".

For instance on a job offer I see this requirement:

Graduates from business school or economics with mathematical background.

So If I understand the sentence it means:

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However, how to say :

enter image description here

Being a non native English speaker I would say:

Graduates from business school or from economics with mathematical background.

Am I right?

Moreover, is there any field who deals with that kind of question. If possible any fields who would use the kind of notation I'm using?

  • Yeah Sorry. By "U" I mean OR and by the inverse U symbol I mean AND. – S12000 Aug 4 '13 at 23:01
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    It means whoever is writing this is not being clear. Most likely, they are just throwing out terms. Apply and see what they really want. – Richard Haven Aug 4 '13 at 23:02
  • Hello Richard, thanks for your answer. Actually I don't want to get the ad hoc job. I'm just interested to know if the English language has some special rule for that kind of "AND" "OR" condition... – S12000 Aug 4 '13 at 23:27
  • I find your title question a bit of a riddle. Does "cond.1" mean condition no.1 and "cond.a" condition a and so forth? If yes, is this a common way to contract the word, condition? Thank you. – Mari-Lou A Aug 5 '13 at 7:29
  • @Mari-LouA Yeah you are right. No it's not a "common way". I just wrote cond. cuz it's too long to write condition many times on a title. – S12000 Aug 5 '13 at 15:33

The sentence is ambiguous, and could mean either of your two choices.

English is not math, and trying to write a sentence that conforms to the rules of mathematics or formal logic can often diminish clarity instead of enhancing it. Instead, it is better to write the sentence in whatever way will get your point across clearly, with a minimum of ambiguity.

I would write this in one of two ways, depending on what I wanted to say:

Business or economics graduates with mathematical backgrounds...


Business school graduates, or economics graduates with mathematical backgrounds...

Note that turning the noun phrases around (X graduates, rather than graduates of X) makes them easier to work with in this instance.

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    A man calls his wife, a programmer, at work and asks, "Honey, on the way home could you stop at the store and get a loaf of bread, and if they have eggs could you get a dozen?" She brings 12 loaves of bread home. As phenry says, "English is not math." Now, in my little joke, who was "at work," the man or his wife? – Michael Owen Sartin Aug 5 '13 at 1:48
  • I like this answer because it shows how using a comma can completely change the meaning of the sentence. "Business graduates or economics graduates with mathematical backgrounds" is not the same as "Business graduates, or economics graduates with mathematical backgrounds". – GnoveltyGnome Aug 6 '13 at 16:31

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