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How does negation affect the use and understanding of “or” and “and”

A's girlfriend doesn't like movies or Roses. What would be the correct interpretation ? Does A's girlfriend not like both, or only one?


A's girlfriend doesn't like BOTH movies and roses.

You're probably thinking about the positive form: "A's girlfriend LIKES either movies or roses." In this case, "girlfriend likes movies" or "girlfriend likes roses."

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  • Are you sure, A likes either Movies or Roses will mean that A like exactly one. – user22691 Jun 22 '12 at 4:55
  • That depends. What do you mean by "exactly one" anyway? Ex. I'm not sure of her nationality. She is EITHER Spanish or Italian Ex. There are two fashionable bags. You could buy EITHER of them. – Cool Elf Jun 22 '12 at 5:04
  • I mean A like exactly one of Movies or Roses – user22691 Jun 22 '12 at 5:12
  • If you're so definite about it, you should just say: "A likes movies but she doesn't like roses." Either means you have an option, so both A and B are possible but you'll choose only one. Either also means uncertainty about which one – Cool Elf Jun 22 '12 at 5:23
  • Whether "likes either X or Y" means exactly one, or means at least one, depends on context. For example, consider the following conversation. "I heard B was thrilled when A showed up with a big bunch of roses to take her out to a movie." "She must really like either movies or roses." (Implying that she likes movies, roses, or maybe both, but that she couldn't possibly like A.) – Peter Shor Jun 22 '12 at 19:13

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