I'm writing a paper in which the experimental results with two different antibodies are compared across different brain regions.

I want to write something like:

We used antibodies A and B for this experiment. We obtained distinct results depending on the antibody and brain region.

Here each experiment only uses either one of the two antibodies.

I wonder if "depending on" should be followed by "the antibodies and brain regions" (the + plural) or "the antibody and brain region" (the + singular).

Actually, I have no problem with "depending on antibody and brain region", i.e. uncountable and abstract use of nouns without an article. This kind of example phrase can be found in dictionaries.

However, as soon as there comes a "the", I cannot really tell what is right.

If I consider the following sentence,

We obtained distinct results depending on the antibody and brain region examined.

then "the + singular" sounds natural to me, for only one antibody or region can be examined at one time.

Could someone please give me some advice on this?

  • I assume 'labelling' has its usual sense here, ie you label your results. This experiment resulted in our devising distinct labelling patterns determined by both the antibody involved and the brain region examined. But I'd prefer a complete rewrite. I feel you're trying too hard to avoid starting with 'we'. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 16:27
  • Cheers. In order not to go into technical details which is not relevant, the original sentence has been radially simplified. I'll try to clarify the context. Commented Feb 21, 2016 at 19:44

1 Answer 1


Mostly for the sake of parallel phrase structure but also for terminological accuracy, adding tested and the would produce a gem acceptable to any medical journal:

We obtained distinct results depending on the antibody tested and the brain region examined.

Plural agreement among nouns would, as noted in the question, decrease the scientific precision of the sentence:

We obtained distinct results depending on the antibodies tested and the brain regions examined.

The following variation is a partial concession to the grammar of plurals that also avoids the slightly ambiguous use of depending:

We obtained distinct results for different combinations of antibody and brain region.

  • Thank you for the great reply. This is very helpful and well explains what I felt. Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 8:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.