Please refer to page no. 791 of The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

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Both in chapter 15 and in this snippet it says or implies that either one or some of the coordinated elements are true. And in light of that, sentence 17(a) should read like that:

Either Kim wasn't at work on Monday or Pat wasn't at work on Tuesday is to be true to make sentence 17(a) true. Right?

If that be the case, then the claim But for [17a] to be true, both of [18i-ii] must be false should not hold. Why both, why not any one of them at minimum based on the logic stated above?

  • I don't understand your question. But your assertion is false 17a requires both parts to be true. Language is not Boolean logic. Apr 18, 2021 at 7:54
  • @DanielRoseman I know, but the author himself wrote it that way and I just followed him, I explained it the same way he did. "Because of the meaning of or the truth of either one of those is sufficient to establish the truth of [17b]" Apr 18, 2021 at 8:05
  • You can't reasonably ask members to refer to p791 of CGEL. Very few people have that particular grammar. Not only is it expensive, but it is also aimed at teachers / linguists / grammarians.
    – BillJ
    Apr 18, 2021 at 8:34
  • @BillJ saying ""refer to"" may be inappropriate, but the OP has provided a copy of sufficient text from CGEL, so referring to it is unnecessary.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 18, 2021 at 8:41
  • @JavaLatte That's up to the OP to say, not you. In any case, one really needs to read section 1.3.1 from the start to fully grasp the meaning of the term "having scope over".
    – BillJ
    Apr 18, 2021 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


I see what the author is getting at, but it's a strange way of explaining it.

Because of the unusual gapping, the negation applies to the or, and its meaning becomes nor. To say the same thing without gapping, we would therefore have to use nor.

Kim wasn't at work on Monday, nor was Pat at work on Tuesday.

The author's assertion that both 18i and 18ii must be false is therefore correct.

  • I'm glad I didn't have to learn English from such weird examples! It seems to me that 17b involves even more "unusual, non-idiomatic gapping" than 17a. In 17a, or is a klunky alternative to nor was, as you say. But all I can see in 17b is or being used to mean either that [Kim worked Monday], OR [Pat worked Tuesday. And I find it hard to imagine a credible real-world context where anyone would say it like that, even if that's what they meant. Apr 18, 2021 at 15:10
  • I wanted to ask some clarification, but suddenly it made sense. I mean the one related to the text in the book. Thank you for your answer. Apr 19, 2021 at 23:42

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