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In my mother language, when we want to ask a question and we doubt between two conditions to be true we ask our question in this way: interrogative clause + "or" + affirmative clause + "?"

For example, suppose that Alice is known not to be punctual and yesterday she had a meeting with Bob. Today, I ask Bob:

1 Did she come late again or she was on time?

Another example that Bob might have said to Alice in their meeting:

2 Oh Alice you came late again. Is it because of the amount of time you spent on doing your hair or it has nothing to do with it?

Is it a valid structure in English?

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  • I find questions like these very frustrating to receive because I can't answer them with "yes" or "no" (without being an inclusive-or pedant). Especially your examples, the options are mutually-exclusive and exhaustive. But certainly it is very normal and common in English to ask questions like this.
    – minseong
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 16:58

2 Answers 2

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In English the second clause should also be interrogative:

Did she come late again or was she on time?

Is it because of the amount of time you spent on doing your hair or does your hair have nothing to do with it?

It would be possible to reduce the second clause:

Did she come late again or on time?

Is it because of the amount of time you spent on doing your hair or not.

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One can certainly use "or" to connect two questions of that kind, each of which is a sentence.

However there are other small problems with the examples you give.

In 1, you need to place "she was late" in the interrogative - Did she arrive late again, or was she on time?. (There is really nothing wrong with using "come late" - but personally I prefer "arrive late". Perhaps Americans may incline more to say "come late".)

In the second example, exactly the same issues apply: Oh Alice, you arrived late again. Is it because of the amount of time you spent doing your hair, or has that nothing to do with it? (Where you have referred to a particular fact, it is slightly more fluent to use "that" rather than "it" when referring back to it.)

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