slash <vs> and/or [Adding/changing <vs> Adding and/or changing]

partinstance

Senior Member
Russian
Hello.

I have one little question. Could you take a look please?


There are two versions of short examples.

1) Adding/changing text is prohibited. Smoking/drinking is prohibited.
2) Adding and/or changing text
is prohibited. Smoking and/or drinking is prohibited.

Which one is the most correct?

I think the 1st is more clear and common (more easy for understanding) although the the 2nd is probably more accurate. But I am not sure because the 2nd may cause additional questions.

I really appreciate your support. Thank you in advance.
 
  • Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Both versions are difficult to understand. (1) seems to suggest that one may not do both at the same time but one could do one or the other. (2) would suggest to me that the writer can't make up his or her mind.

    Simple, straightforward statements would be better. Smoking and drinking are prohibited. Do not add or change text.
     

    MikeMc

    Senior Member
    USA
    English-US
    The slash is not interchangeable with "and/or". In the first example it may be interchangeable with "or", i.e. "Smoking or drinking is prohibited". However, since they're both prohibited it's more accurate to say "Smoking and drinking are prohibited" as Parla pointed out. The author E.B. White discouraged the use of slashes as being inelegant. Thus, although the sentences in the first example above are understandable, Parla's versions is preferable and more elegant.
     

    partinstance

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Could you give us the context of your sentence?
    There is a text, for example text of document (or something else). Someone says the rule -

    "The following actions are not allowed:
    • adding text
    • changing text"


    or another instance. A patient was said that he was not allowed to do the following actions:


    • smoking
    • drinking
     

    partinstance

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Both versions are difficult to understand. (1) seems to suggest that one may not do both at the same time but one could do one or the other. (2) would suggest to me that the writer can't make up his or her mind.

    Simple, straightforward statements would be better. Smoking and drinking are prohibited. Do not add or change text.
    "Smoking and drinking" but "adding or changing"?
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    If you are talking about what is prohibited, I would say "smoking and drinking."

    If you are talking about what the patient is not allowed to do, I would say
    "The patient is not allowed to smoke or drink."
    (This is to preclude their thinking that they aren't allowed to do both, but they might do one or the other.)

    I find "adding or changing" a little difficult to think about. I see 'adding' as a form of changing the text. If you aren't allowed to change the text, you aren't allowed to add to it. However, you may want to include the specific prohibition against adding text because you don't see that as a form of changing the text, or because you think other people may not see it that way.
     

    partinstance

    Senior Member
    Russian
    If you are talking about what is prohibited, I would say "smoking and drinking."

    If you are talking about what the patient is not allowed to do, I would say
    "The patient is not allowed to smoke or drink."
    (This is to preclude their thinking that they aren't allowed to do both, but they might do one or the other.)

    I find "adding or changing" a little difficult to think about. I see 'adding' as a form of changing the text. If you aren't allowed to change the text, you aren't allowed to add to it. However, you may want to include the specific prohibition against adding text because you don't see that as a form of changing the text, or because you think other people may not see it that way.
    Thank you for detailed explanation, Cagey!
    You are right, "adding" is just in case here.

    Only one point confuses me. If I may put "and" to "smoking-drinking", why is it incorrect for "adding-changing"?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Only one point confuses me. If I may put "and" to "smoking-drinking", why is it incorrect for "adding-changing"?
    Logic can change "and" to "or" when a sentence is changed from negative to positive and vice-versa.
    "Not (A or B)" is the same "(not A) and (not B)" In logic, this is referred to as DeMorgan's Law.
    Going from mathematical language to English makes it less obvious but it is still true.
     

    partinstance

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Logic can change "and" to "or" when a sentence is changed from negative to positive and vice-versa.
    "Not (A or B)" is the same "(not A) and (not B)" In logic, this is referred to as DeMorgan's Law.
    Going from mathematical language to English makes it less obvious but it is still true.
    hmm..It is difficult to realize when thinking a lot about that instance in context of the thread.
    OR has always meant to me only one thing of several.

    Adding or changing text is prohibited. (But if I did both actions at once, then I would not break the rule)

     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    On further thinking about the question, I agree with Cagey (post #7). Adding anything would be a form of changing. But in case others may not see it that way, I'd use: Adding or changing text is prohibited.

    You say that if you did both at the same time, you wouldn't be breaking the rule. Yes, you would, because you'd be doing each.
     
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