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Learn more about this indefinite word in the Answers section.
usage note
"O" becomes "u" when it precedes a word beginning with "o" or "ho."
1. (indicating alternative)
a. o
Do you want the chicken or the beef?¿Quiere pollo o bistec?
I think they have seven or eight children.Creo que tienen siete u ocho hijos.
b. ni (in negative constructions)
Your comment wasn't funny or nice.Tu comentario no fue ni gracioso ni simpático.
, unstressed ə(r)]
1. o ; u [before o or ho]
  • an hour or so alrededor de una hora
  • did she do it or not? ¿lo hizo o no?
  • keep still or I'll shoot! ¡quieto o disparo!
  • snow or no snow, she was determined to go con nieve o sin ella, estaba decidida a ir
2. ni (with negative)
  • she didn't write or phone no escribió ni llamó
or [ɔːʳ]
1 (giving alternative) o; (before o-, ho-) u; (between numerals) ó
would you like tea or coffee? ¿quieres té o café?; seven or eight siete u ocho; men or women mujeres u hombres; 15 or 16 15 ó 16; let me go or I'll scream! ¡suélteme, o me pongo a gritar!; hurry up or you'll miss the bus date prisa, que vas a perder el autobús
[either] A or B
rain or no rain, you've got to go con lluvia o sin lluvia, tienes que ir
not ... or ... no ... ni ...
he didn't write or telephone no escribió ni telefoneó; I don't eat meat or fish no como carne ni pescado; she can't dance or sing no sabe bailar ni cantar
20 or so unos veinte; veinte más o menos
an hour or so una hora más o menos
without relatives or friends sin parientes ni amigos
2 (that is) es decir
botany, or the science of plants botánica, es decir la ciencia que estudia las plantas
Mary Anne Evans, or George Eliot
or rather ... o mejor dicho ...; o más bien ...
"U" and "ó" instead of "o"
While or is usually translated by o, use u instead before words beginning with o and ho:
... two or three photos ... ... dos o tres fotos ...
... for one reason or another ... ... por un motivo u otro ...
She was accused of parricide or homicide Se le acusó de parricidio u homicidio
Write ó instead of o between numerals to prevent confusion with zero:
... 5 or 6 ... ... 5 ó 6 ...
Remember to use ni with negatives.
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