12 Other Ways to Say “And/Or” in an Essay

If you’re in the midst of a complicated essay and need an alternative for the phrase “and/or,” you’ve come to the right place!

Below, we’ve compiled a list of useful synonyms for this phrase that are suitable to use in academic and other formal writing. So, read on!

Other Ways to Say “And/Or”

  • A or B, or a combination of the two
  • One or the other or both
  • Either or both
  • A or B or both
  • If not A and B, then either
  • A together with B or just one
  • Both, or one or the other
  • A and B, or either one
  • Either A or B, or both A and B
  • Either one or both
  • Either both or either one
  • A or B, or both A and B


  • The phrase “and/or” is considered unsuitable for formal and academic writing.
  • A wordy alternative that you can use is “A or B, or a combination of the two.”
  • As a more straightforward alternative, you can say “one or the other or both.”

Stick around to see how we use our choice of synonyms for the phrase “and/or” in a few helpful examples.

After that, we’ll discuss whether it’s appropriate to use the phrase “and/or” in an essay.

A or B, or a Combination of the Two

If you’re looking for a good replacement for the phrase “and/or” in your essay, it’s a good idea to simply expand this phrase for clarity.

Therefore, instead of writing “A and/or B,” you should write out “A or B, or a combination of the two.” “A” and “B” in this synonym can represent any two options you are speaking about.

This phrase is preferred for academic writing, even though it is far wordier than “and/or.” If you’re having trouble meeting the minimum word count for your paper, this could be a good thing!

Finally, let’s see how you might use this phrase in your essay:

In this experiment, we were trying to find out whether our participants would choose fresh fruit or potato chips, or a combination of the two, to snack on as they awaited instruction.

It is difficult to predict whether we will see an increase in strikes or resignations, or a combination of the two, from employees of the company.  

One or the Other or Both

If you’re wondering what to use instead of “and/or” for formal writing, we would recommend the phrase “one or the other, or both.”

This phrase is a tad wordier than the original. However, it sounds significantly more formal and sophisticated than its inelegant counterpart, “and/or.”

Additionally, this phrase is far less vague than the original. This is essential for good academic, legal, or scientific writing. 

Therefore, let’s see a few examples making use of this synonym:

We set out a snack display that included various fresh fruits and multiple brands of packeted potato chips. We told our participants that they could select one or the other or both kinds of snacks but that they should take no more than two altogether.

In Meyer’s second book, we learn of a lasting treaty between these two sets of mythical beings. Moreover, we learn that clashes occur where one or the other or both parties violate said treaty.

Can You Use “And/Or” in an Essay?

The phrase “and/or” should not be used in an essay or any other kind of formal or academic writing.

Many academics have called this phrase inelegant, ambiguous, and lazy. Therefore, it is unsuitable to include in an academic paper.

Thus, when you’re writing your essay, you would be better off using one of our alternatives in the list above. You can avoid using this phrase by rephrasing it and writing out its overall meaning more clearly.

In other words, instead of “and/or,” you can say “either or both,” or one of the other synonyms above.

If you think you might want to keep our list around for your next paper, go ahead and bookmark this page!