fish / fishes

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Ume, Dec 4, 2009.

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  1. Christmas tree at aquarium in Fukui Pref.
    Dec. 04 FUKUI, Japan
    Breeding staff wearing Santa Claus costumes set up a 3-meter-high Christmas tree in a water tank at Echizen Matsushima Aquarium in the town of Mikuni, Fukui Prefecture, on Dec. 4, 2009. Some 3,000 fish of 20 kinds swim in the tank, which measures 10 meters in width and 6 meters in depth. (Kyodo)

    The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary says:
    noun (pl. fish or fishes) [HELP] Fish is the usual plural form. The older form, fishes, can be used to refer to different kinds of fish.

    Therefore, shouldn't fish be "fishes"?
  2. Niblib Senior Member

    English - Australia
    I don't know about anyone else, but I would never use fishes, no matter what the dictionary said.
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    The 3000 fish aren't 3000 different kinds of fish. The special plural can be illustrated by saying that trout, perch, pike are fishes. (But usually we say 'fish' anyway - 'fishes' is rare in any sense.)
  4. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
  6. GreenWhiteBlue

    GreenWhiteBlue Senior Member

    The City of New York
    USA - English
    In the present example, there are 3000 fish in the tank, but 20 fishes in the tank.
  7. koniecswiata Senior Member

    Am English
    I would probably say fishes if I could count them (probably as I am seeing them in an aquarium)--and that is as a noun. But, then again I'd also say buffaloes, elephants, and hippos, where I've noticed some native speakers drop off the s.
  8. Bigote Blanco Senior Member

    Other options:
    Some 3,000 fish, of 20 different species, swim in the tank.
    Among 20 different species, some 3,000 fish swim in the tank.
    With 20 different species, some 3,000 fish swim in the tank.
    Including 20 different species, some 3,000 fish swim in the tank.
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