I find that often, in technical writing, I want to specify that or is non-exclusive: or ≠ xor; or = and/or.

(Stylistically, "and or" is terrible and gets tiresome quickly;)

As an example of the type of ambiguity that can arise, see I need clarification on the use of the word “either”.

If one has established an "xor" in natural language, "or" can be assumed to be non-exclusive can be assumed, but that may not be explicit enough.

  • Has attempted to introduce, even unsuccessfully, a contraction for "non-exclusive or" that relates symbolically to xor?


Russel & Whitehead used "v" as a symbol. [See: Symbol for 'Or']

See also: Does “or” mean both conditions?

  • I hope this question will be found tolerable, as it is a serious one. I linked three related, useful (but under-voted) previous stack questions.
    – DukeZhou
    Mar 24, 2019 at 1:25
  • 2
    There's only and/or really. It does get tiresome, but the workarounds are not much less tiresome, and in any long-ish piece of writing (in a field where this comes up a lot), you will eventually come across a situation where even the best workaround is so clumsy it's better to use and/or - and then you'll wish you'd bitten the bullet the first time and used it throughout.
    – user339660
    Mar 24, 2019 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


As far as I know, there is no natural language contraction for the inclusive or.

In fact, in order to make it explicit, you have to write something even longer:

You can choose A, B, or A and B.

But even that may not be explicit enough—because it doesn't absolutely rule out the possibility of not making a choice—or making a choice that isn't any of those things.

If an inclusive choice has be made, then you have to say something like this:

You must choose A, B, or A and B.

Note that this also applies to the natural language equivalent of the exclusive or:

You can choose either A or B, but not both.

Generally, adding just either is enough; however, many people add the extra three words if they want to make sure there is no room for any confusion at all.

And also, in the more explicit version:

You must choose either A or B, but not both.

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