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    #1

    Cool Fish & Fishes

    Hi,

    Fish is considered as an uncountable word, right? But can't I say "I have 3 fishes in my aquarium..."?


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
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    #2

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    It is in fact both countable and uncountable, so yes, you can - "There are two gold fishes and one black fish in my pond".


    • Join Date: Sep 2007
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    #3

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    Quote Originally Posted by bieasy View Post
    Hi,

    Fish is considered as an uncountable word, right? But can't I say "I have 3 fishes in my aquarium..."?
    Fish can be both countable and uncountable.

    My personal distinction (I don't believe this to be a rule as such) is when talking about fish in general it is uncountable, but when I am taking about types of fish then it is countable.

    For example:

    There are many fish in the ocean.

    I have three fishes in my aquarium, a guppy, an angelfish and a swordfish.

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    #4

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    I am not saying you all are wrong (you're not), but I've never said fishes in my life. I have three fish in my aquarium, and I'm going to buy two more fish for dinner. I've also never said deers, or sheeps. I use these words (fish, deer, sheep) for both the singular and the plural.

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    #5

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    Quote Originally Posted by Anglika View Post
    It is in fact both countable and uncountable, so yes, you can - "There are two gold fishes and one black fish in my pond".
    In your example, shouldn't it still be "...two gold fish..." as the gold fish is just one type of fish?


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    #6

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    There are two fishes in the pond. They may both be gold, but there is still more than one fish. It has nothing to do with type, but with numerical status.

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    I agree with mykwyner. I never say fishes. It's one fish, two fish, three fish, a few fish, many fish.

  2. Dawood Usmani's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    I've come to the conclusion that in British English both singular and plural form of fish is usable without any difference. Conversely, in American English only the singular form of fish is used.
    Great experience!
    Thank you all!
    Dawood

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: Fish & Fishes

    Quote Originally Posted by dawoodusmani View Post
    I've come to the conclusion that in British English both singular and plural form of fish is usable without any difference. Conversely, in American English only the singular form of fish is used.
    Great experience!
    Thank you all!
    Dawood
    I have only ever encountered "fishes" in poetic or literary contexts, in spoken English (UK) it is always "fish", (1 fish, 2 fish etc.)

  4. engee30's Avatar
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    #10

    Smile Re: Fish & Fishes

    Quote Originally Posted by bhaisahab View Post
    I have only ever encountered "fishes" in poetic or literary contexts, in spoken English (UK) it is always "fish", (1 fish, 2 fish etc.)
    There's no need to use the plural form fishes since fish is plural in its form already. However, the form fishes (regarded as archaic) is commonly found in scientific language and, as bhaisahab mentioned, in literature.


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