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The Contender
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AND/OR is an abomination of the English language

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/4/2018 Category: Education
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 565 times Debate No: 119309
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)




Everywhere I go (papers, Books, Articles, Even the spoken word! ) I am accosted with the term AND/OR. It must stop! I will stipulate that in legal documents there is some place for this contraction. However, There are almost zero other times when AND/OR is better than (or even as good as) the two real-English options ("and" and "or").

Use of AND/OR is evidence of mental laziness. 'Gee, I don't want to make the effort to decide whether I should use "and" or "or. " Instead, I'll cover all the bases and use AND/OR. ' In many cases, The use of AND/OR adds confusion. The definition of the term is not the sum of "and" and "or. "

~if you were watching, You noticed that I have always chosen "and" or "or" instead of the abomination~


AND/OR is an important phrase in the English language. It is unlike both "and" or "or, " as it means more than either of those words by themselves. For example, I could state something to the effect of, "You should wash the car and/or wash the dishes. " This statement is totally different from a) "You should wash the car and do the dishes" or b) "You should wash the car or do the dishes. " In example a), It states you should both wash the car and the dishes, Not one or the other, And in example b), It states you should either wash the car or do the dishes, Not both. But, In the and/or example, The simple sentence now states that you can wash either the car or the dishes, Or you can do both. There is no phrase as simple as and/or to replace it.
Debate Round No. 1


My wife yells, "Wash the car or do the dishes! " Is she upset when I do both? -No. We usually mean inclusive OR (A, B, Or both) not XOR (A or B, But not both). Fudge or caramel? Fish or chips? -Both! Your AND/OR sentence is redundant to OR.

My friend asks, "Please, Wash the car and do the dishes. " Does he thank me if I only do one? -Yes. Chocolate and vanilla? -Just chocolate, Please. AND/OR is often redundant to AND, Too.

Worse, AND/OR is an invasive species--it is never wrong! A rewrite of your final sentence, "you can wash either the car AND/OR the dishes, AND/OR you can do both" allows your original meaning. "We buy/sell x, Y, Z, AND/OR q. " Should be "and".

AND/OR is not "important. " English thrived for centuries without it.


Your argument is that it is riddled with words such as "usually" or "often. " Just because English speakers usually mean an inclusive OR or exclusive AND's, Doesn't mean a contraction providing less confusion, Such as AND/OR, Would not be useful.
To your wife analogy, Let's say she yells, "Wash the car and do the dishes. " In such a scenario, Where she just uses AND, It's thought that you have to do both, But if she used AND/OR and meant you could do both or either, Her statement would have been clarified. The same with the chocolate analogy: "Chocolate or Vanilla, " in context, Can imply you can only have one or the other, But "Chocolate and/or Vanilla" gives clarification that you could have both.
And/or is important in logical clarification
Debate Round No. 2


It's harder with 3+ options, But there are rare times when AND/OR could be useful. BUT, It is an invasive species. Its rampant overuse has transformed it from a clarification into an abomination.

If you are set on having a "logical clarification, " you should pick a real word. English has compound & hyphenated words, But not slashed words. Here are successively better versions of the abomination (& they obey all the rules of grammar):

AND-OR, Hyphenated words exist
ANDOR, Save a character, Slash/hyphen not needed
ORAND, Better no?
RAND, Better still & save a character
/, Save 3 more characters by just slash-ing all the options

and the best option is. . . ", ". Slashes are ugly so just use comma separated lists. I call it the Red Fox Comma


It's not harder to use with 3+ options, The conjunction is simply saying it is one or more of the options: "I want eggs, Flour, And/or baking soda. "

You say we should "pick a real word, " and then proceed to list several words I've never seen before, Some of which make no sense ("RAND"? ). If you were to use "RAND" in an essay, No one would understand what you meant. Same with all the others except "AND-OR, " which is actually used, Rarely, In some writings.

Finally, I don't know what your definition of a "real word" is, But AND/OR is generally and used widely in many writings. It is important in logical clarification, And there is no concise and understandable alternative to the conjunction, And therefore AND/OR is not an abomination.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 3 years ago
And/or is an important logical function: it signifies that two conditions can be conjoined but also might not be!
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Behold 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro never qualifies what constitutes an abomination, but only makes general potshots at and/or., admits it is useful in round 3. The general purpose of language is to communicate meaning, if it is useful for that, it probably follows that it isn't whatever an 'abomination' is.

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