How could the following list be improved:

You must either;
  a) signup for x, or
  b) signup for y, or
  c) pay for z.

closed as off-topic by Centaurus, Drew, Mari-Lou A, Sven Yargs, choster Jul 26 '15 at 20:28

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  • 1
    You can start by removing the semicolon. – Jake Regier Jul 24 '15 at 23:09
  • Offer a free lollipop to anyone who signs up? – WS2 Jul 24 '15 at 23:39
  • 1
    Replace the semicolon by a colon; that's easy. But there is no context to help the reader decide what choice makes sense, or if any of them make sense. Give the reader enough information to make a decision; as it stands, I would run out the door. – ab2 ReinstateMonicaNow Jul 25 '15 at 5:14
  • What would make this list "improved" in your opinion? Also, "sign up" usually has a space in it. – Gaurav Jul 25 '15 at 6:44
  • Thank you for your suggestions. I am learning English, and your comments really help! – sina Jul 25 '15 at 7:40

I would run it this way:

You must choose one (and only one) of the following three options:

  1. Sign up for x.

  2. Sign up for y.

  3. Pay for z.

My rationale for handling the list in this way is that running the three options as separate simple sentences maximizes their readability and their distinctness as independent options.

The best place to make clear that the user/reader/participant must choose an option but must not choose more than one option is in the instructions preceding the list; if you do a good job of it there, you don't have to tangle up your enumeration of the options themselves with conjunctive ors and a single prolonged but piecemeal sentence presentation.

Ultimately, of course, there is no single right or best way to handle a question like yours. We are deep in "primarily opinion-based question" territory here.


Either is followed by two alternatives. Either A or B. You have three. Do not use "either" in this way.


First, either is used with only two alternatives (either this or that).

Second, a semicolon is not a good choice before a list; a colon would be appropriate if you want to keep the question in its current form.

Third, sign up, used as a verb, should be two words, not one. Signup is appropriate when used as a noun or adjective: "Where is the signup list?"

Finally, a previous poster has suggested a good revision. Another option, closer to your original, might be

 You have three options.  You must

 1.  Sign up for x, OR

 2.  Sign up for y, OR

 3.  Pay for z.

No punctuation after "You must," because that with each of the options is a complete clause.

Hope that helps.

  • I like this answer as well. Is there any particular reason why you capitalised the "OR"s in each item? – sina Jul 25 '15 at 7:39
  • Just for emphasis. You could capitalize or not capitalize. – ewormuth Jul 25 '15 at 15:21

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