As a general rule, a sentence that begins with noun A and noun B should be followed by a "plural" form of the verb. For example, May and Tom are good students.

However, which verb should be used in the following example?


The diagnosis and management of disease X require/requires an extensive ...

As in the first example, the original sentence can be broken into

May is a good student.

Tom is a good student.

May and Tom are good students.

Following the logic,

The diagnosis of disease X requires .... The management of disease X requires ....

Shouldn't the diagnosis AND management of disease X be followed by require? Or is there any difference between the diagnosis and management of disease X and THE diagnosis and THE management of disease X, in which the subject in the former is considered singular and that in the latter is plural?

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    Apr 26, 2016 at 21:51

1 Answer 1


For OP's specific example, both singular and plural verb forms are fine. It really just depends on whether the speaker thinks of diagnosis and management as two distinct things, or two components of a composite "medical response". Speaking for myself, I would tend to the latter interpretation.

That's why we can say, for example, Fish and chips is a British tradition.

  • So you'd probably choose "the diagnosis and management", not "the diagnosis and the management". Is this assumption correct?
    – B Chen
    Apr 20, 2016 at 13:59
  • Probably I would, but the long and the short of it is there's no "grammatical rule" saying I can't repeat the article even when I'm treating the combination as syntactically singular. Apr 20, 2016 at 14:03
  • So is there a general rule? "Fish and chips is a British tradition" is considered ok but I think, say, "Alice and Bob is in Britain" is considered wrong. Why can't I consider "Alice and Bob" as a "single" group of two people, which "is" in Britain?
    – velut luna
    Apr 20, 2016 at 19:52
  • @Mathaholic: No, there's no hard&fast rule beyond what I said in the answer (but you might find this ELU answer helpful). It's not easy to think of a context where two people's names could reasonably be treated as a single unit for this purpose outside of somewhat contrived contexts like Janet and John is a children's book, or Higgins and O'Sullivan is the snooker final I'm really looking forward to. Apr 20, 2016 at 23:06

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