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I'd like to say "Both wave forcing and tidal forcing are not included in the model". In the following sentence should I use "and" or "or"?

"The model does not include wave forcing and/or tidal forcing."

Thanks,

  • "and/or" in negation is redundant. – curious-proofreader Sep 8 '16 at 4:17
  • @curious-proofreader: He doesn't intend to use "and/or" in that context; he's saying, 'In the sentence, "The model does not include wave forcing ___ tidal forcing.", should I use "and" or "or"?' – Scott Sep 8 '16 at 4:44
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Logically speaking, if your meaning is the neither is included, then you want to use "or".

The model does not include wave forcing or tidal forcing.

Using "and" could theoretically mean that that one is included but not the other.

The neither/nor construction Mike mentioned is probably more clear though.

  • "and" would mean that "the model includes wave forcing and tidal forcing" is FALSE, which also includes the case of having neither. Example: A: Do you have a cat and a dog? B: No, I don't have a cat and a dog. I have neither; I have only a hamster. – curious-proofreader Sep 8 '16 at 4:15
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    Yes, obviously it includes the case of having neither. I didn't say one is included, just that it's a possibility. – Alexis Olson Sep 8 '16 at 4:26
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From the OP:

I'd like to say "Both wave forcing and tidal forcing are not included in the model". In the following sentence should I use "and" or "or"?

"The model does not include wave forcing and/or tidal forcing."

"Both" in the first sentence seems awkward because "both", which in this case has positive connotations, is being used with "not", which has negative connotations. Instead, one could say:

"Wave forcing and tidal forcing are not included in the model." (drop "both" -- it's unnecessary)

OR

"Neither wave forcing nor tidal forcing is included in the model." (use neither/nor)

The OP's third sentence should read:

"The model does not include wave forcing or tidal forcing."

OR

"The model includes neither wave forcing nor tidal forcing."

According to Dictionary.com:

or: used to connect words, phrases, or clauses representing alternatives: books or magazines; to be or not to be.

Because "wave forcing" and "tidal forcing" represent different alternatives (i.e, considerations or factors that could have been included in the model), the sentence calls for or.

Example: "I don't eat apples or pears" means "I don't eat apples" and "I don't eat pears" OR "I eat neither apples nor pears." "I don't eat apples and pears" means "I don't eat combinations of apples and pears together, at the same time," i.e., "I don't eat apple-and-pear fruit salad."

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