• katie posted an update 6 months ago

    English language fish plurals.
    1: the plural is the same as the singular – e.g. cod, haddock, whiting, whitebait, herring, trout, perch, tench, pike, bream, halibut, tuna, barracuda, piranha, salmon

    2: the plural has an “s” e.g. sardines, anchovies, sharks, rays, eels, minnows

    What is the rule? It seems that apart from the eels, the rule is “if its size range is generally the size of a human arm or less, but not smaller than a finger, then there is no “s” ”

    • eee replied 6 months ago

      Rule? This is English, don’t expect logic!

      • If the distribution were more random, I wouldn’t be considering the possibility of a rule! And yet, aside from the eels, in the examples I gave, just some species off the top of my head and I know there are outliers but in terms of what you generally picture when you think of these fish(es), there is a pattern!

    • It’s always been a tricky one, even with the word “fish” itself. According to one source, Shakespeare used “fish” as the plural eight times and “fishes” eleven times (Jonathan Hope, Shakespeare’s Grammar).