I have a question about my English Language & Usage Stack Exchange post: Difference between and/or after "you can use"

In my question, I asked whether "and" and "or" can have the same meaning if they are used after "you can use", and if so, if one of them would be preferable. However, the question was put on hold for not being "about English language and usage within the scope defined in the help center."

The help center says that questions on "Word choice and usage" are welcomed here. Please help me understand why my question is considered to be off-topic, and if there is a way to fix it to make it on-topic.

  • The question was closed with a custom reason (usually something like "I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because..." although it can be anything), but the comment that had that close reason was deleted.
    – Laurel Mod
    Jan 30, 2019 at 2:50
  • Actually, the reason that there is no "I'm voting..." comment is that no custom reason was given. The votes were 2 x Unclear, 2 x "to ELL", No research [not in that order]: with that combination, there is no clear "winner" for a reason, so none is stated. There were four "Close" votes and one "Leave open" vote from review.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Jan 30, 2019 at 7:30
  • 2
    Why was this meta question downvoted? Actually, you are not making it easy (or attractive) for new users to start contributing if questions are downvoted or closed without providing a reason for it or a suggestion on how to improve the question!
    – user55190
    Jan 30, 2019 at 15:11
  • @user55190 The labels for the close reason are not to be taken literally because the reason why any particular person chooses to close may not be exactly those words, but they are close enough. It's very annoying to the person whose thing is closed. But that's language.
    – Mitch
    Jan 31, 2019 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


The question is certainly about the English language, and it is on topic. However, excluding the OP, for whom is the question and its answer(s) useful? And is the post interesting?

Basically, the question boils down to the meaning of the conjunctions "and" and "or". The question will not strike native speakers as being particularly intriguing or thought provocative, and I have rarely come across any non-native speaker who was confused over the meanings or usage of these two conjunctions.

  1. Take the red and the yellow pencil (take both colours)
  2. Take the red or the yellow pencil (pick one colour)

Maybe it should have been migrated over at English Language for Learners. The OP formatted correctly the post but it still lacked substance and research.


If the OP can edit their post and include the definitions of each conjunction and explain why they think joining two elements with "and" may suggest that either one is a possible option that might pique the interest of five users and convince them to cast their vote and reopen the question.

  • I don't think your two example sentences are related (other than that they use the same conjunctions) to the issue my question is about. I have edited my question and added details as to why I think that joining elements with "and" could be used to express an option between the elements.
    – user55190
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:20
  • What exactly is meant by "the post lacked research"? What level of "research" is expected for an acceptable question? The post I'm now refering to in my questions (english.stackexchange.com/questions/124459/…) also did not include any "research" but was, apparently, considered to be acceptable.
    – user55190
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:24
  • @user55190 we are here to serve, your question after editing is now vastly more complex. Bravo!
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:26
  • 1
    Ah... your question now looks very similar to One or more of A, B, C, "and, or, and/or" D? As to the discrepancy you mention, or the double standard, I would suggest that users found the older question to be sufficiently complex and interesting at the time.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 30, 2019 at 22:30

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