the doctor and philanthropist

[color=indigo]1-The doctor and philantropist walked into the room.

Does this mean:
[color=red]a-One person who was both a doctor and philantropist walked into the room.
[color=blue]b-The doctor and the philantropist walked into the room.

I think it means “a”. However, it seems to me that in some cases, when talking about two people, one could drop the second “the”. That is when the two people form a unit of sorts: the man and wife, the doctor and nurse, the mother and child…


I’d agree with you, though of course it’s not cast in stone. It’s always possible that someone will say a meaning there are 2 people.

By not having an article before philanthropist, it makes it clear that it is the same person as the doctor - “a” is correct.

If someone wants to argue that it means two people, then either they are simply wrong, or the original statement has bad grammar.

How do you feel about “The doctor and nurse walked into the room” then?

Hi Thredder,
Navi clearly states that for it to mean two people, the two people have two form some sort of paired unit.

Hi Thredder,

I see ‘doctor’ and ‘philanthropist’ as two people. If it was one and the same person, then these two titles would surely have to precede/introduce a noun in apposition or at least suggest that as in:

The doctor and philanthropist, Charlie Brown …

Dozy, Beees - Ok, I agree with you fully. As paired unit it works, but in the example given I can’t see how The doctor and philanthropist" are associated as a paired unit in the same way as “the doctor and nurse” etc. or even “the fish and chips”.

I wasn’t suggesting a general rule, simply responding to the example given in the context given (i.e. no context) … and agreeing with Navi and BN.

Not sure I agree with Alan though. “The butcher, the baker the candlestick maker…”, “An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walked into a bar…” etc. I think an article would be used to show separate entities… (except for established paired units of course :wink: ).