You would use array(s). Arrays are for sets of data.
If you are still using the xxx_escape_string() function, the php mysqli extension, and discrete logic to handle errors, switch to use prepared queries, the much simpler php PDO extension, and use exceptions to handle errors. Doing this will result in the simplest php code and the simplest sql syntax.
You can also dynamically validate the input data as a set and dynamically build any INSERT or UPDATE query by having an array defining the expected/permitted fields, with validation attributes and query attributes, then loop over this defining array to perform the validation using general purpose code and to build the sql statements with the appropriate fields.