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I was writing a sentence and although a formal mathematician would use ‘and’, I couldn’t decide whether ‘or’ would be more natural English:

You must pay the maximum of 50% of the value of your house and 85% of your salary.

  • Either one works. Personally I would gravitate towards or but don't ask me why. No reason that I can put my finger on, really. – RegDwigнt Jan 27 at 0:01
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    You can't fix that sentence with just and or or. You need to get the idea across that the largest of the two things is the value to be paid. One way would be "You must pay either 50% of the value of your house or 85% of your salary, which ever is more." There are other ways to say this, but they can be confusing or at least legally ambiguous. – Phil Sweet Jan 27 at 0:04
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    It seems like an either/or situation to me also. @PhilSweet Did you mean whichever? – KannE Jan 27 at 0:59
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    @PhilSweet You mean the larger of the two. :) – tchrist Jan 27 at 1:09
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    @RegDwigнt Possibly because the original can parse as “You must pay X and Y”. – Lawrence Jan 27 at 2:12

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