Oppure vs. O

I am confused as to which should be used in a particular context. Discussion forums for sentences have not given me a consistent answer. Please help!

May 9, 2019


They are perfect synonyms, so you can use one for the other. For instance, you can alternate them, not to repeat o more than once:

  • Roma o Venezia, o Torino, oppure Bologna.

Since oppure is a longer word, you can use it for starting a sentence (despite the old but no longer valid rule according to which a sentence should not start with a conjunction):

  • Oppure andremo a Bologna.

For the same reason, oppure can sound slightly more emphatic than o when wishing to remark a choice between two options:

  • Preferisci questo oppure quest'altro?

For phonetic reasons, as TommyDuo wrote, before any word that begins with o it would be better to use oppure, unless the word begins with an open 'o' (whereas the conjunction o has a close sound):

  • Settimo o ottavo piano. ← since the first 'o' in ottavo has a close sound, it would be better to say oppure; many grammars suggest to use od in this case, but its use is rapidly dying out.

  • Nell'insalata metti aceto o olio? ← here o is still OK, because the first 'o' in olio sounds open, so it can be told from the conjunction.

However, in informal conversation (i.e. spoken language), using two subsequent 'o's with the same sound, like in settimo o ottavo, is very common.

May 9, 2019

Perfetta spiegazione!

May 9, 2019

Mmmhm... Ho sempre pensato che:

Oppure corrispondesse all' "o esclusivo" (aut) e

O all' "o inclusivo" (vel).

May 9, 2019

Secondo Treccani è disgiuntivo, ma ha un valore più forte di o (più o meno quello che ho scritto come terzo esempio), ma non dice niente riguardo all'esclusività o all'inclusività.

May 11, 2019

A quanto pare, nella lingua italiana, si è persa la distinzione tra vel e aut. Non so da dove mi sia venuta quell'idea, ma ormai è ben radicata, continuerò ad usare oppure con valore disgiuntivo-esclusivo, checché ne dica la Treccani. ;-P

Avrei una curiosità:
Nella lingua inglese esiste XOR (exclusive or)? Mi è capitato di veder usare, in questo forum, NOR (not or), ma mai XOR.

May 12, 2019

It seems that oppure is the same as o, but more applicable in formal writing. There are a few other rules about its use:

May 9, 2019

Thank you all for your answers! I think I get it now.

May 11, 2019

They are exactly the same, but sometimes you should use "oppure" instead of "o" or vice versa in a sentence that would be pretty bad to hear.

For example: Vuoi sale O oppure olio? = Do you want salt or oil? Pronouncing double "o" wouldn't be so pleasant to hear, so in these cases we have to use "oppure".

The same thing happens with "oppure", for example: Vuoi uscire oppurE o entrare? = Do you want to leave or to enter?

I hope you understood!

May 9, 2019
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