Is this read as and or or? Because it doesn't sound right while speaking aloud. Or is there some other way you can say it?

  • 4
    I read it as either "and or" or "and slash or".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 7, 2016 at 3:10
  • Dictionaries give the pronunciation. Jan 7, 2016 at 9:38
  • 4
    I always thought of the slash as representing "and/or" itself, which would give an infinite recursive sequence: "and and and and and and and and ... ... or or or or or or or or" Jan 7, 2016 at 12:10
  • 6
    If you are offered cake and/or coffee, read it "and". If you are expected to provide cake and/or coffee, read it "or".
    – anemone
    Jan 7, 2016 at 12:30

5 Answers 5


It's normally read aloud as simply and or, ignoring the slash altogether.

This and or that.

  • 2
    Usually with a bit of stress on the "and or" part, sort of the vocal equivalent of the / indicating that it's intentional. Jan 7, 2016 at 10:08
  • This is general reference and should be close-voted rather than answered. Jan 7, 2016 at 10:13

The slash is silent, and or, not. Depends on the speaker and their mood. The slash is used mostly to signal that this isn't a typo.

  • 2
    Good observation that it's used to indicate that both words are intentional! Jan 7, 2016 at 9:20

And [a very brief, meaningful pause] or [another one].

  • 2
    I've never heard people pause between "and/or", usually they just go on as if there is no slash, like "This and or that" (like in Kevin's answer).
    – justhalf
    Jan 7, 2016 at 8:18
  • @justhalf: There are all kinds of people out there, including some folks who have no sense of humor and take stuff like "and/or" seriously. Those don't pause.
    – Ricky
    Jan 7, 2016 at 8:21
  • Hey, don't take my previous comment negatively =) I should've ended that with a question, "Is the pause common in your place?"
    – justhalf
    Jan 7, 2016 at 8:26
  • @justhalf: I can always use a good pause in the right place when I'm talking. Needless to say, it has to be accompanied by a gesture or a facial expression. Long story short, if you make your audience laugh just once, they're yours.
    – Ricky
    Jan 7, 2016 at 8:33
  • 1
    I believe the intention of using this construct is to emphasise that the "or" is not exclusive or, but inclusive. It is used in many formal written terms, even in my native language there is such construct.
    – justhalf
    Jan 7, 2016 at 8:52

People say it like they would "and or," or "andor." Much like we don't pronounce the hyphen in a word with a hyphen (e.g., half-day), we also don't pronounce the slash (/) in "and/or." Instead, we simply pretend the slash isn't there and read the word as we would if there were no slash at all.

By the way, "and/or" constitutes a single word, just like "half-day" does. You may think it's two words with a slash in between, but it's not. You may also think it's adhoc, but it's not that either. "And/or" is listed in the dictionary as a single word that is pronounced [and-awr] and is defined as a conjunction that means either or both of the things mentioned may be affected or involved.

  • 1
    '[I]n the dictionary' is nonsense. Yes, most dictionaries list "and/or" as a conjunction (Wikipedia uses the guarded term 'grammatical conjunction' and adds the open alternative), but ODO lists it under 'phrases of and'. Ted Tjaden at Slaw claims it is 'not a real word' and cites Fowler's recommendation to avoid its use. Jan 7, 2016 at 9:56
  • @Edwin Ashworth : So you're saying believe you and not the dictionary?! That's funny. Pardon me if I don't take you up on that offer. As for OED, it actually gives "and/or" its own entry as well as listing it under the parent entry "and." Moreover "and/or" gets its own entry in Merriam-Webster, American Heritage, Dictionary.com, need I go on? Thanks for the downvote though. Seriously, I find it completely amusing people such as yourself flail about refusing to believe your wrong with such brazen obtuseness that you'll shoot yourself in the foot to make it seem like you're right. Hilarious! Jan 7, 2016 at 10:27
  • 2
    I'm sceptical of "and/or" being a really word because it sounds silly. That's not good grounds to not believe, but until you add a source to back up your claim then I don't see why I should believe it. Jan 7, 2016 at 10:46
  • and/or : dictionary.reference.com/browse/and-or?s=t Jan 7, 2016 at 11:46
  • and/or : merriam-webster.com/dictionary/and/or Jan 7, 2016 at 11:47

I agree with not reading out the slash (and,or), and I do so frequently in my speeches.

However, I am not so sure when it comes to other slash uses (male/female, towns/villages, laptops/tablets, smartphones/tablets, etc.)

I think in some cases it may be useful to actually say “slash”.

  • Hi Slasher, this seems to be opinion rather than factual information the OP can use.
    – Joachim
    Jun 8, 2020 at 12:38
  • Oh right, because the others were what? Decrees from the Grand Universal Authority of Slash Use?
    – Slasher
    Jul 8, 2020 at 17:26
  • I mean, did you even read the other answers? “People say...”, “I’ve never heard people...”, “Depends on the speaker or their mood”: they are all subjective. Mostly because there is no written rule, so we must go by empirical experience. And I provided mine, which has some weight, given that I write speeches full of similar instances, and they are presented at a fairly high level.
    – Slasher
    Jul 8, 2020 at 17:33

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