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This has really been bothering me. Which of these is the most correct?

I am against twabulation except in the cases of delivery, attack, and colorization of a twibble.

I am against twabulation except in the cases of delivery, attack, or colorization of a twibble.

(swapping "in" and "for")

I am against twabulation except for the cases of delivery, attack, and colorization of a twibble.

I am against twabulation except for the cases of delivery, attack, or colorization of a twibble.

Googling these kind of sentence structures reveals a mostly even split among the number of search results.

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  • They are all correct in their own way. Changing conjunctions and prepositions actually changes the meaning, not the correctness. Which meaning are you intending?
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 13:19
  • Here is the long form: "I am against twabulation in the case of delivery. I am against twabulation in the case of attack. I am against twabulation in the case of colorization of a twibble. For all other cases, I am in favor of twabulation."
    – Nick
    Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 13:24

1 Answer 1

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There is a slight difference in your first two sentences. First, the difference between "and" and "or":

1) I am against twablulation except in the cases of delivery, attack, and colorization of a twibble.

2) I am against twablulation except in the cases of delivery, attack, or colorization of a twibble.

Sentence 1) refers to cases in which a twibble is affected by all three (delivery, attack, and colorization) Sentence 2) refers to cases in which a twibble is affected by one or more (delivery and/or attack and/or colorization)

3) I am against twablulation except for the cases of delivery, attack, and colorization of a twibble.

4) I am against twablulation except for the cases of delivery, attack, or colorization of a twibble.

As for sentences 3) and 4), they sound odd because of your use of "for" instead of "in". "Except for..." can be a correct construction, but the "for" is not necessary. In this case I would write "except in cases of..." - the fewer prepositions, the better.

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  • If you use a disjunctive "or" then what if a twibble is attacked and colorized? Some interpretations of disjunctive say that the forms are mutually exclusive so it is unclear if you are against twablulation. More annoying: "and" is usually conjunctive (all three must happen), but sometimes "and" is disjunctive. I did a little Googling, but got annoyed with bad memories of Statutory Interpretation class, and I decided to just write a comment. Note that some jurisdictions define "or" and "and" because the grammar is not always obvious. See law.justia.com/codes/louisiana/2011/ccrp/ccrp6 Commented Feb 5, 2015 at 22:11

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