Do you have three alternatives?


No is the simple answer. “Alternative” comes from Latin and means “other of two”. “Alternative” means another option, another choice. So you have an alternative to something, one thing only.

However, the word is commonly used to refer to many options, and this is strictly (estrictamente) a mistake. It is a common mistake in English made by many uneducated (inculto) mortals (mortales).

If you wish to refer to a range of choices (more than two), then the correct form is “you have some options, or you have four options”. Here are some examples:

  • There is an alternative to Brexit – no Brexit.
  • There are three options for Britain re leaving the EU: a complete break (the World Trade Organisation rules), the Norway model, or another variant (variante) to be negotiated.
  • For economic success there is no other alternative but low taxes.

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