and vs. or

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and vs. or

Post by azz » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:15 pm

a. In those days, people generally believed that men were better suited to become scientists and artists.
b. In those days, people generally believed that men were better suited to become scientists or artists.


Are both of the above sentences grammatically correct and do they both mean the same?

Many thanks.
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Re: and vs. or

Post by tony h » Sat Jul 06, 2019 11:55 pm

They probably do mean the same being "one or other". It used to be very important to incorporate the skills of an artist with those of a scientist in which case "scientists and artists" may be more specific. Now it is a rather specialised skill. It is interesting that the first evidence of DNAs role in development was done by hand drawn records because photography was not suitable, although it was tried.
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I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: and vs. or

Post by azz » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:42 am

Thank you Tony


c. When I was a child, all my friends wanted to become pilots and detectives.

d. When I was a child, all my friends wanted to become pilots or detectives.


Would you say (c) and (d) mean the same as well?

I don't know why (d) sounds much better than (c) to me. Maybe I am mistaken...

Many thanks.
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Re: and vs. or

Post by tony h » Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:37 pm

I am sure Phil could give you a technical analysis. Here is my lay view. Both are fine. c seems to refer to the group whereas d seems to refer to the people in the group.

d seems more logical but I suspect that is my Aspie brain rather than a social brain. :)

c. When I was a child, all my friends wanted to become pilots and detectives.
or: When I was a child, my group wanted to become pilots and detectives.

d. When I was a child, all my friends wanted to become pilots or detectives.
or: When I was a child, each of my friends wanted to become either a pilot or detective.
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I'm puzzled therefore I think.

Re: and vs. or

Post by Phil White » Mon Jul 15, 2019 6:17 pm

tony h wrote:
Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:37 pm
I am sure Phil could give you a technical analysis. Here is my lay view. Both are fine. c seems to refer to the group whereas d seems to refer to the people in the group.
Phil has been out of the loop for a few days.

This whole thing with "and" and "or" is an odd one. When translating from German, I find myself constantly rendering "und" (and) with "or", and frequently enough, I will render "oder" (or) with "and". And I do it strictly intuitively.

The strict logic that Tony has tried to apply is fine and will save you from making mistakes, but in most cases of this type (enumerations of potential outcomes), either alternative is possible. I prefer "or" in both your examples, but would not insist on it.
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Signature: Phil White
Non sum felix lepus

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