A thorough X and Y, was or were?

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Senior Member
Hi. I have recieved this from a native speaker in a formal communication. I belive that the " was" is in correct because it says " AND". It is a thorough history + a thorogh physical examination. I believe the verb should be " were". However, maybe because he has started the sentence with " A" he has considered " was" or it could be wrong as I stated above. What do you think? Thanks

"A thorough history and physical examination was performed "
  • pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    To a medical professional (and I'm assuming the context here), a "history and physical" is considered to be a unit, often referred to as an "H&P." That's why the singular is used.


    Senior Member
    British English
    Presumably the writer looked on history and physical examination as a single entity because they always go together. In any case were would be wrong because it is impossible to perform a history. The correctly phrased sentence would be A thorough history was taken and a thorough examination was performed. You perhaps can see why he chose the incorrect but shorter form.

    Cross-posted with pob14. In BE it would never be called an "H&P".
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