What is the correct use?

His stool and urine ARE normal.

His stool and urine IS normal.

  • 2
    Not really a dupe: apples are countable, and so is an orange. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 15:38
  • This isn't an issue pertaining to uncountable nouns, per se; It has more to do with the fact that they're compound subjects. Because of this, it should be plural. Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 21:13

4 Answers 4


Unless the elements can be considered a whole, coordinated subjects take plural concord, so ‘His stool and urine are normal’.

  • 3
    Stool and urine could, in the mind of the speaker, be part of a whole consisting of lab tests that, because they are normal, don't suggest a diagnosis. If the tests were ordered looking for evidence of occult blood loss and no blood was seen in either the stool or blood, I can see how a compound whole could exist as a construct in the mind of the speaker. The only reason I am mentioning this is because "The stool and urine is normal" does not sound, to my ear, as wrong as it ought to. Commented Nov 17, 2013 at 22:30
  • Yes,they could. That is the kind of difficulty that arises with questions that do not have any context. Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 7:38
  • @MichaelOwenSartin For this reason, I don't think that either form is incorrect. Some might view urine and stool collectively as excrement, I suppose. Or perhaps the samples were taken at the same time, making it a one-time event for the speaker. To my ear, however, Barrie England's answer is correct. Commented Nov 22, 2013 at 21:16

This is a matter of the conjunction. If the conjunction is "and", then then subject is plural, and so you should use "are". However, of the conjunction does not form a plural statement, like "or", then you should use "is".


Both "are" and "is" could be correct, depending on context. If the speaker is referring to both the stool and urine as a single set, then "is" can be used. If, however, the speaker is listing the two items as separate entities then "are" should be used.

For example, if diagnosing a condition that requires both a stool and urine test; both tests are sent to the lab together, and the results arrive together, one may say that the results of the collective whole are normal: "The 'stool and urine [test]' is normal".

On the other hand, if the two tests are separate, then they are not a collective whole. In this case "are" should be used: "The stool [tests] and urine [tests] are normal"

A good indicator of which to use would be the plurality of the implied "test". "Stool and urine test", being singular, indicates a collective whole which would use "is". "Stool and urine tests" indicate two independent items being listed, which would use "are".


Since you are asking specifically about conjunctions of uncountable nouns and not about whether or not "stool and urine" should be considered a single set, it should be plural. It is the same as two singular nouns in a conjunction.

Pen is acceptable. Pencil is acceptable. Pen and pencil are both acceptable.

Music is fun. Stool is gross. Information is informational. Milk does a body good. Music, stool, information, and milk are examples of things that are uncountable nouns.

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