If I mean "it does not contain A or B", which one of the following is correct?

  1. It contains no A and B.
  2. It contains no A and no B.
  3. It contains no A or B.
  4. It contains no A or no B.

I think 2 is correct, but I am not sure about others.

  • 2
    Are you sure this in a question about English? It seems more like a question about logic. – Juhasz Sep 11 '19 at 19:36
  • Although I can't answer this thoroughly, I can definitely say that 4) is wrong. – krobelusmeetsyndra Sep 11 '19 at 19:50
  • There is a difficulty here. Standard English usage of "no" with "and" and "or" does not match the mathematical or Computer Science usage. If you're asking about common English usage, "it does not contain A or B" is correct; none of the other options would be standard informal usage. – Edward Barnard Sep 11 '19 at 21:06

It contains neither A nor B’ is how you can express this correctly in English.

‘Either / or’ and ‘neither / nor’ are matching pairs.


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What is the problem of using "It does not contain A or B"?

You can add "any" for emphasis.

If you mean "both A and B" altogether simply say "It doesn't contain both A and B".

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