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# Applebees vs. Starbucks “OR”

Updated: Sep 18, 2023

There are times in statistics when we have to fight the English language because we need a more specific and precise definition of the English word (bias, plausible, significant). “OR” is a classic example.

## Applebees “OR”

You decide to go to Applebees for lunch and order the Triple Bacon Burger®. The server smiles and proceeds to ask you a very important question:

“Would you like french fries OR onion rings?”

In this context, “OR” means one or the other but not both (you would be charged extra to get both).

## Starbucks “OR”

After your lunch visit to Applebees, you decide to get a pick-me-up at Starbucks. You order a (too bitter) cup of the house blend. The barista smiles and proceeds to ask you a very important question:

“Would you like cream OR sugar?”

In this context, “OR” means one or the other or both.

## So which “OR” do we want for Statistics?

The winner here is Starbucks. When we are thinking about the event A OR B, this includes 3 possibilities: (1) only A, (2) only B, (3) A and B (this would be the left pacman, the right pacman, and the football in a Venn Diagram).

As a final note, logicians and computer scientists make a clear distinction between the inclusive or and the exclusive or.