For "higher of" sentences, is it correct to use X and Y, or do you use X or Y?

The following example:

Recoverable amount: the higher of an asset's fair value less costs of disposal (sometimes called net selling price) and its value in use.

My inititial perception was that "or" is the correct form, but the above excerpt is from a published standard in accounting, so i think it would be correct.

Thoughts?

  • 1
    What does your title mean? – Hot Licks Aug 5 '15 at 3:50
  • 1
    the higher of: {(fair value)-(disposal costs)} or (value in use). My vote is for "or" but I do see "and" employed in cases like this. Incidentally, I'd also prefer "greater" rather than "higher" in your example, which would be more precise – cmcf Aug 5 '15 at 4:31
  • I think either can be used. There's no alternate meaning, so there's no confusion that results. – Barmar Aug 5 '15 at 19:45
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This is not a question about asset values. It is a question about logic. "The higher of ..." introduces a comparison of two, and only two, things. "A or B" is a construction that refers either to A or to B, and has a single result: "A" or "B". We therefore cannot refer to the higher of "A or B". Because we need two things in the comparison, we must use "A and B".

Anton is correct for the reasons he states, but often one asks, "Which is greater--A or B", which is a correctly stated question and likely the reason ears often think "the greater of A or B" sounds correct. Perhaps one can avoid the issue by stating, "A or B, whichever is greater."

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