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The Plural of Fish - Fish or Fishes?

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  • The Plural of Fish - Fish or Fishes?

    So many people get confused with the plural form of the noun “fish” and understandably so.

    Many learners and indeed native speakers will simply turn “fish” into “fishes” as a plural form. This is incorrect in most cases.

    Let me explain.

    The normal form of fish, as in the animal, is also fish as a plural form.

    For example:

    There are five fish over there.

    As a plural for species of "fish", you can pluralise the word to “fishes”.

    For example:

    There are smaller fishes that feed on tiny animals.

    Again, most of us are taught about this one at a young age along with other irregular plural forms but when speaking it can be difficult to recall. If a native makes this mistake, it’s more noticeable than a learner who may have temporarily forgotten the rule.

  • #2
    That's interesting, no wonder people get confused, even native speakers. So you can also say: "There are bigger fishes that feed on tiny fish", right?
    https://www.lingostan.com

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    • #3
      Veeery interesting, I've never noticed, I think...
      www.lingostan.com

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Lingostan View Post
        That's interesting, no wonder people get confused, even native speakers. So you can also say: "There are bigger fishes that feed on tiny fish", right?
        Yep that's right!

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        • #5
          It also works with certain types of fish. I'd say "3 salmon please" (for example) - but for some reason I've got it in my mind that one would say "three herrrings please". Don't know why, just feel it's right!

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          • #6
            [Note: I thought I'd already posted this but can't see it. So here it goes again!] An exception is in the bible, where jesus feeds the amsses with loaves and fishes, if I remember correctly.

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            • #7
              We used to have a mutual friend in Ecademy. I no longer recollect his name, but you, Laury, probably remember it. He always said "fishes". I still wonder why.

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              • #8
                No, sorry, don't remember! I have to say that the quality of spoken language in Ecademy was better than that on Facebook. I hope people here don't pick up bad habits from Facebook!

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                • #9
                  People here are linguists or, at least, language enthusiasts, and that has to count for something!

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                  • #10
                    Absolutely - I'm impressed by the people here.

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                    • #11
                      i use the both

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                      • #12
                        Many people do

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