According to my understanding, the correct use of "或者"(meaning "or"). But the character "者" means a person who specialized in something. Why isn't it "或则" similar to "否则". Since "则" has any meanings. Like: to follow, standard/norm, then, etc. Sorry if this is supposed to be something obvious.

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    或则 is used in old Chinese.
    – dan
    Oct 29, 2021 at 7:55

2 Answers 2


According to 百度百科或则 is a valid Chinese word (have similar meaning to 或者)


In the above quoted text, 或则 can be considered as or else

或者 can also mean somebody or someone:


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    “或者因一句话上,成就了一家儿夫妇;或者因一纸字中,拆散了一世的姻缘。” I don't think 或者here means someone. I think this is a case of ellipsis. “(someone)或者因一句话上,成就了一家儿夫妇;(someone)或者因一纸字中,拆散了一世的姻缘。” It's quite common in Chinese to omit the subject.
    – joehua
    Oct 29, 2021 at 11:10
  • Nope, if you think this way, then 或者 is meaningless or redundant. You have “或曰” as “someone says”. Nov 16, 2021 at 7:35

Actually, “者” doesn't have to stand for a person. According to 新华字典, “者” can refer to either someone, like


where 读书者 means a person who reads,

or something, like


where 逝者 means the passing time, and


where 二者 refers to “these two things mentioned above”.

There's much more examples, where 者 can also stand for "the reason of which", etc. So, I would consider 或者 as "something alternative" or something likes that.

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