Use of adjectives

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In the sentence "Decorative signs and/or flags....." does the adjective refer to 'signs' and/or 'flags' or just signs?

asked Oct 16 '13 at 20:11 Frank Currie New member

1 answer


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The use of "and/or" is not generally recommended, but people do use it.  The idea is that it is a shorter way to say you might have one or the other or both.  There is really no good way to know whether the adjective describes just the first noun or both nouns in this instance - especially since you didn't provide the entire sentence or any other context.

 

In some cases, there might be an adjective before both nouns:  apple pies and/or chocolate cakes.

In other cases, the reader can make an assumption: fresh pies and/or cakes.  I assume that the cakes would also be fresh.

 

In your case, you need to know if the flagss are also decorative.  You might be able to tell in context.  If not, you'll have to ask the writer to clarify.  If you are the writer, replace "and/or" with either "and" or "or" and add some clarity if needed. 

link comment answered Oct 16 '13 at 21:17 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

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