Saturday, July 23, 2005

Andor: In the Interests of Improving the English Language . . .

. . . I have decided to cease using the construction "and/or" in my unpublished and self-published writings. One should not have to use a slash (also known as a solidus or an oblique) in formal writing. Unfortunately, written English provides no reasonable alternative for expressing the sentiment, "both or one or the other." ("And or or," for instance, is even more awkward than using the slash.) Thus I would like to suggest a closed spelling: andor. For example:

  • Would you like cheese andor onions on your chili?

  • After dinner we could see a movie andor go out for dessert.

  • I feel that written English needs gender-neutral, personal, third-person pronouns to replace "he or she," "her or him," "his or hers, "herself or himself," and so on. All of these constructions are functional, but they become cumbersome if you must use two or more in the same sentence. For the time being removing the slash in andor is a more urgent matter.


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