There is no food and/or water

There is no food or water.
There is no food and water.

Which is the correct sentence? And why?



I’d simply say: ‘There’s neither water nor food.’ or ‘There’s no water nor food’. The latter feels a bit awkward, I don’t know why.

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I’d say “There’s no food or water”
Strictly speaking, “no food and water” would mean that you might have one or the other, but not both, but I doubt that a listener would really notice or care about the difference here.
If the sentence were “Did you bring food and water?” there is an important difference and you’re asking about both.

As Marc said, “Water and food” is a bit awkward. It probably has to do with the simple rhythm of the phrase “food or water”. It’s become a standard way to say it.
If you do reverse the order, you draw more attention to the statement:
“They were in the desert for 5 days and had no water or food.”
“They were in the desert for 5 days and had neither water nor food.” (More formal)

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There is no food or water.
This is by far the most common way to say it in AmE.

There is neither food nor water.
This is correct, but sounds elitist to me.

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Yeah, sweet Nappy, but there’s all sorts of people in the world, you know. Oh, by the way, have a nice day, mate! Oh, and one more thing. I do not belong to the elite! I’m just an ordinary guy…yes, like you. hahahahahahaha

Thank you for liking my post, Arinker. You’re so kind. I’m sure you’ll agree that elitist is not the same as more formal, because that’s exactly what ‘neither…nor…’ is.

I specifically said AmE. I almost never hear people say “Neither/nor”. It sounds overly correct.

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I hear it a lot! Besides, there’s nothing wrong with being overly correct.

I think “elitist” has something to do with the intent to appear superior. My favorite usage is from Desperate Housewives where a husband and wife are talking.

Rex: I can’t believe you tried to kill me.
Bree: Yes, well, I feel badly about that.”

The writer is making a point about Bree’s elite background.

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Thank you, Arinker.

You see, some people may think that I want to be superior, but I am not and I don’t want to be that.