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I wanted to write something in plain English that reflects a logical statement with slightly complex conditions. I went with something like "A person requires extra security if they're trying to access at least one location which is not the third floor or on the daily list of allowed floors".

If I were grouping it like boolean logic in a programming language with parentheses, I might write it like:

... if they're trying to access at least one location which is not (the third floor or on the daily list of allowed floors).

But grouping with parentheses wouldn't be proper in plain english.

I could also translate the negation of a disjunction into the conjunction of two negations like:

... if they're trying to access at least one location which is (not the third floor and not on the daily list of allowed floors).

And this version might be unambiguous even without the grouping, but you could imagine a more complicated construct which would still be ambiguous (maybe one clause is negated and the other isn't).

I could use a list and write something like:

... if they're trying to access at least one location which is:

  • not the third floor, and
  • not on the the daily list of allowed floors

But in this situation, a bulleted list isn't possible, it's just a paragraph. Is there any way to present the logic unambiguously?

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  • Extra security is required to obtain access to non-allowed floors. Allowed floors are the third floor and any floors listed in the daily list. (Of course if the third floor was always listed in the daily list it wouldn’t need to be called out specially.)
    – Jim
    Jan 17 '17 at 20:44
  • "... if they're trying to access at least one place not located on the third floor nor belonging to the daily list of allowed floors."
    – Graffito
    Jan 17 '17 at 21:35
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I would write "if they're trying to access at least one location that is neither the third floor nor on the daily list of allowed floors"

("That" instead of "which" because it's a restrictive clause.)

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