When describing an experiment (inside a thesis paper), I want to explain that we took a sample and did two things to it, but not together, rather as two separate experiments.

One way to write it is :

We took the sample and either did X to it, or did Y to it.

Another way is:

We took the sample and did X to it, and separately did Y to it.

Frankly I'm not happy with either forms. What's a good way to write this?

  • If you would be more precise as to what X and Y are, it would be better (as the answer depends on what actions X and Y are).
    – user20934
    Jun 2, 2012 at 12:53

3 Answers 3


Sample taking is pretty much assumed, so no need to emphasize that at the start of your sentence. How about something like: "Samples were subjected to Kjeldahl analysis or Multiplex polymerase chain reaction followed by capillary electrophoresis"?

  • 1
    This seems like a sensible approach. OP has tied himself up in knots by starting with a sample - which makes it awkward to say what was done next, since different things were done with different parts of the sample. Just call them samples right from the start. Jun 2, 2012 at 15:08
  • 2
    ...with a comma after "analysis", if the capillary electrophoresis was done only on those subjected to Multiplex polymerase chain reaction...otherwise, a comma after "reaction" would be helpful.
    – JeffSahol
    Jun 2, 2012 at 16:42

We did X to the sample in one experiment and Y to it in another.


It is unclear from the example sentences how the sample was treated. One might more clearly say something like the following:

We did X to the sample, and then did Y to that result.
We did X to part of the sample, and Y to another part.
Separate portions of a sample were given treatment X or treatment Y.

You could prefix "After taking the sample," or "A sample was taken and" to the above if for some reason you wish to emphasize that a sample was taken, but otherwise could leave the sample-taking as an implied fact.

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