I'm writing a conversation between a doctor and a patient. After asking a couple of questions relating to the symptoms, the doctor says:'' Let me give you an abdominal/ dental exam''. I wonder if we can say '' give someone an exam'' in this case or would it be better to say: '' Let me perform/ do an abdominal/ dental exam on you.'' ?

Thanks a lot for your help!

1 Answer 1


Usually, the noun exam is a shortened form of examination, meaning a formal summative assessment carried out in order to determine what and how well one knows or has learned. And in that meaning it is not synonymous to the noun examination, meaning the act of examining/looking at something carefully (in your example, it's a medical/physical check up the doctor gives the patient).

So basically, you can use any verb which makes a valid collocation (as far as reliable collocation dictionaries go) with the noun examination used in that meaning, e.g. carry out, perform, undertake, etc.

As for your example, I think that "let me examine your..." would sound way more natural.

  • Thanks a lot for your clear and detailed explanation!! :)
    – Brie12
    Commented Jul 16, 2021 at 12:57

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