Eel have a long body like a snake.

fdk47

Senior Member
Tagalog
Which one would you say as a native speaker?
If they all sound strange, could you tell me how you would say it?

1. An eel has a long body like a snake.
2. Eel have a long body like a snake.
3. Eel have long bodies like snakes.

I wrote these, and I think you can say "A lion lives in Africa" to talk about all lions, but for eel, it is uncountable so I am at a loss.

Thank you.
 
  • Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    The point of the comma is to point the fact that it's the eels which share this characteristic with snakes, not the bodies.

    If you say Eels have bodies like snakes, then it's the bodies which are like snakes.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Eels have long bodies like snakes. (3 from OP above.)

    I would personally not use a comma after "bodies".
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm just saying that there's a difference between the two:

    1. Eels have bodies, like snakes - ie. Eels, like snakes, have bodies.
    2. Eels have bodies like snakes - ie. Eels' bodies are like snakes.

    Here 1. is so platitudinous as to be not worth saying, so 2. would be more likely.

    If you make the bodies long:

    1a. Eels have long bodies, like snakes - ie. Eels, like snakes, have long bodies.
    2b. Eels have long bodies like snakes - ie. Eels' bodies are long, and like snakes.

    Now 1a is not platitudinous, and is what I'd originally taken the sentence to mean.

    If I wanted to make the point of 2b, I'd be more likely to write 2. Eels have bodies like snakes.

    The comma makes an important difference to the meaning.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    Eels have long bodies, like snakes - ie. Eels, like snakes, have long bodies.
    Eels have long bodies like snakes - ie. Eels' bodies are long, and like snakes.
    I'm with Thomas on this one, because there's a meaningful difference. The first one's factually correct. The second one isn't: Eels are fish, while snakes are reptiles, and their bodies (aside from being long) are quite different.
     
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