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  1. Newbie
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    #1

    Even fish sleep at night.

    Hello teachers,

    I'm studying English grammar from a book from an English speaking country.
    I ran into two mysteries during my study.

    1.

    Even fish sleep at night. (from the book)

    This sentence is correct? or just an error of the book?
    I think it should be either 'Even fishes sleep at night.' or 'Even fish sleeps at night.'.

    2.

    A pig is an intelligent animal. (from the book)

    I think 'The pig is an intelligent animal.' is more accurate.
    Am I wrong?


    Please let me know.
    Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Welcome to the forum, Chul.

    Please tell us the name and author of the book you are studying from and the topic of which your quoted sentences are examples.

    1. The more common plural of 'fish' is also 'fish', like 'deer' is both singular and plural, so 'Even fish sleep at night' is correct.

    'Even fishes sleep at night' is also correct, but is less common.

    To make it singular, you need 'Even a fish sleeps at night'.

    2. I agree with you.

    Note that 'This sentence is correct?' should be 'Is this sentence correct?'

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    #3

    Thumbs up Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Thank you.

    The book is 'The Article Book' by Tim Cole.

    1. I didn't know the plural form of 'fish' can be 'fish'.
    2. The question is '___ pig is an intelligent animal.' and the answer is 'A'.
    But I think this is probably because the representative manner of 'the' is not mentioned before the chapter.

    so, the author didn't make any mistakes.

    Thank you again. My curiosity has gone like a wind.

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    #4

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Odd fish sleep during the day.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Interestingly, whales and dolphins, among other cetaceans, sleep with half of their brains shut down and the other half alert.

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    #6

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

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


    Hello, Chul:

    I have found some information that may interest you.

    According to two scholars, there are at least three ways to express that idea:

    1. The pig is an intelligent animal.
    2. Pigs are intelligent animals.
    3. A pig is an intelligent animal.

    The scholars say this about sentence 3:

    a. It is "the most concrete and colloquial [informal] way of expressing generality." [my emphasis]
    b. It is "used most appropriately when the context is specific." [my emphasis]

    i. Based on an example in that book, I think that point "b" means something like this:

    Mona [calls a veterinarian]: Sir, I found a pig in my yard. Could you please tell me how to take care of a pig?


    Credit for this information goes to: Mesdames Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman in their The Grammar Book / An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course (1983 edition).

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    #7

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Hi TheParser,

    Thank you for the detailed explanation.

    but I think that a situation in which I could say 'A pig is an intelligent animal.' should be much less common or rare in everyday talk.
    I'm not sure I'm learning English.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 02-Oct-2015 at 08:10. Reason: Deleting unnecessary quote.

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    #8

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Normally, we use "the" when referring to an entire species.

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    #9

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    A: I'm lonely
    B: Why don't you get a dog? A dog is a good companion.


    A: I would like an intelligent, unusual pet.
    B: Why don't you get a pig? A pig is an intelligent animal.

    These examples refer to the general species.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #10

    Re: Even fish sleep at night.

    Yes, but they specifically refer to a single member of the species.

    I grant you there is some overlap.

    The tiger is a ferocious animal.
    The whale is a mammal, not a fish

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