Is it semantically correct to say Event A is mutually exclusive with Event B meaning the two cannot occur together? If not, which other preposition would fit in the phrase to convey the required meaning?

mutually exculsive to / with / from ?

  • 3
    The normal usage would be "A and B are mutually exclusive". I can't ever remember hearing or seeing mutually exclusive used with a preposition. The only sense in which exclusive is normally used with a preposition is to indicate that the use of something is restricted to certain groups. For example "The Premier Bar is exclusive to First Class passengers"
    – BoldBen
    Jan 3, 2017 at 0:15
  • 1
    "Mutually exclusive" is a term that always seems awkward if you try to say "A is mutually exclusive with/for/from/whatever B".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 3, 2017 at 23:09

2 Answers 2


Mutual exclusivity trumps all

The two exist in a relationship of mutual exclusion. A excludes B, just as B excludes A. The relationship is imperative both ways. A preposition expresses relationship. The relationship of mutual exclusivity needs no further qualification. A preposition is not used in this case.

  • 3
    What is the correct wording though?
    – wesm
    Aug 28, 2018 at 18:49
  • @wesm ‘Event ‘A’ and event ‘B’, being mutually exclusive, cannot be reconciled. Aug 30, 2018 at 3:28
  • I agree that "A is mutually exclusive with B" doesn't work, but I'm not convinced the bidirectionality of the relationship explains why the preposition is problematic. Cf. "A is equivalent to B."
    – Yeltommo
    Apr 26, 2021 at 6:51
  • The proper form seems to be "A is mutually exclusive with respect to B". But that's a lot of chewing through words, so I like to use a more concise form ("with") since people know what you mean. This is probably an area where English is evolving.
    – Matthias
    Oct 6, 2021 at 16:43
  • 1
    Ok, so excessive wordplay aside, is it mutually exclusive to / with / from? Non-native speakers like myself ask these questions because it's legit hard to figure this stuff out when you don't have natural intuition of the language. May 3, 2023 at 22:44

I did see attested examples from expert writers of "A be mutually exclusive with B".
And I'll wager people can easily understand the intended meaning,
thought I am not a grammar expert myself.

  • Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Nov 6, 2022 at 23:57
  • This would benefit from including those examples. Please take a moment to tour the site and see the help center.
    – livresque
    Nov 7, 2022 at 0:00

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.