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    #1

    between fish and fishes

    I am always confuse with the usage of "fish" and "fishes". As a student, we were taught that there is no plural form for the word "fish". Like the word 'furniture', it can be used for both singular and plural form of the word. However, when i become a teacher and reads more English materials, I find that "fishes" is often used as a plural form for 'fish'. When my students ask about this, i just don't know how to explain the different usage of the words. Has the rule change?
    Last edited by clementina paul; 22-Oct-2010 at 04:32. Reason: spelling error

  1. Munch's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: between fish and fishes

    In most cases the plural of "fish" is just "fish". But when we talk about a number of groups of fish, we often say "fishes".

    So, you might hear phrases like:

    "All the fishes in the sea." meaning all the different types of fish.
    "The fishes of Texas." meaning the different types of fish found in Texas.

    Similarly, you might hear the word "peoples" meaning a number of groups of different people. The phrase "peoples of the world" means all the different groups of people around the world.

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    #3

    Re: between fish and fishes

    Has the rule changed?
    I don't think it ever was a rule. You were incorrectly taught.

    I suggest you advise your students to stick to fish for both the singular and plural as they will always be right.

    You could tell them that they are likely to hear and read fishes but there is no case where the word is the only correct version.

    Rover

    EDIT: Whenever I make a statement like that, somebody always say 'Oh yes, there is!'

    So I stand to be corrected.

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    #4

    Re: between fish and fishes

    Quote Originally Posted by clementina paul View Post
    I am always confuse with the usage of "fish" and "fishes". As a student, we were taught that there is no plural form for the word "fish". Like the word 'furniture', it can be used for both singular and plural form of the word. However, when i become a teacher and reads more English materials, I find that "fishes" is often used as a plural form for 'fish'. When my students ask about this, i just don't know how to explain the different usage of the words. Has the rule change?

    *****NOT A TEACHER *****


    (1) If you need a "rule" for your students, you might use this

    "rule" from The Columbia [University] Guide to Standard American

    English:

    "[Fishes] is either archaic [old and no longer used in modern

    English], as in biblical use [it is found in some translations of the

    Bible], or chiefly by biologists and others distinguishing various

    kinds or species of fish."

    (2) In other words, you can assure your students that "fish" in

    ordinary everyday English is simply "fish":

    I love fish.

    Go to the market and buy some fish.

    Many nations are fighting over the fish in the ocean.

    Doctors advise us to eat more fish.

    (3) If your students ever have need to speak about the various kinds

    of fish, it might be better to use the other plural:

    I love this book. It describes in detail all the fishes of Antarctica.

    (All those sentences are only mine, not from any book.)

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

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