Asian carp or carps


Senior Member
Asian carp are hardy, lay hundreds of thousands of eggs at a time and spread into new habitats quickly and easily. The federal government's Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force considers the Asian carps to be a nuisance species and encourages and supports "active control" by natural resources management agencies. In the meantime, state and federal agencies are monitoring the Mississippi and its tributaries for Asian carp and testing various barrier technologies to prevent their further spread.

In this paragraph, could I use all plural or singular form in "Asian carp?"


Link: Invasion USA: Asian Carp Invaders Have Taken the Mississippi, Are the Great Lakes Next?
  • All should be “carp.” It isn’t singular in this context. The plural of carp is carp, as with “fish.”

    I have not looked into this, but I could imagine “carps” being ok where one is speaking of many different species of carp. That’s how “fish” works. One fish is a fish. Two are fish. Multiple species of fish can be referred to as “fishes.” Your paragraph does not have anything analogous to this.
    If we're referring to "a nuisance species" we would use "carp." As Plettschner points out, the word "carp" is both a singular and a plural; multiple carp individuals are "carp." We only need "carps" to refer to multiple species (and even then it's not always mandatory).
    The first sentence of the answer sets the topic as being multiple species:
    Seven species of carp native to Asia have been introduced into United States waters in recent decades, but it’s four in particular—bighead, black, grass and silver—that worry ecologists, biologists, fishers and policymakers alike.
    That may be true, in which case something is amiss in this sentence: “The federal government's Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force considers the Asian carps to be a nuisance species.” The writer needs to decide whether she is referring to one species or more.
    If she were to delete "a" the whole problem would disappear.
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    The two mentions of 'Asian carp' have no article, which is only possible if they are plural; we don't speak of :cross:Asian dog. 'The Asian carp' would be ambiguously singular or plural; if there are seven species, the Asian carp are a nuisance; if there is only one, the Asian carp is a nuisance. A group of things can be a nuisance. But 'a nuisance species' is a species: one species. As Plettschner says, this sentence has gone wrong, because the Asian carps can't be a species.
    So in conclusion, carps are better than carp in the whole article because the first sentence in the report is "Seven species of carp." Am I correct?
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