fish/fishes

changeling

Senior Member
Russia, russian
Hi everybody!

I came across the following sentence. Why at the beginning of the sentence fish is used in singular and then it is used in plural? Is it a mistake?

This fish was well-known as early as ancient times, and they were always of great esteem along the Mediterranean coast.


Thanks in advance
 
  • johnp

    Senior Member
    Usually when referring to fish collectively, you use the word fish, like I caught 5 fish today. If you are referring to two or more kinds or species, you say fishes, like the various fishes of the sea.
     

    changeling

    Senior Member
    Russia, russian
    the article is about seabream and I don't get why an author used plural form. So the context above, plural form is wrong?
     

    johnp

    Senior Member
    I'm not sure if I understand your question, but you can say one fish and two fish. It seems the author is referring to a single species of fish in a collective sense and the verb is in the singular.
     

    johndot

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Greetings,

    If you replace This fish with the name of the type of fish, then you can easily see how the rest of the sentence should be written:

    This fish was well-known as early as ancient times, and they were always of great esteem along the Mediterranean coast.

    Sea-bream was well-known as early as ancient times, and it was always of great esteem ...
     

    johnp

    Senior Member
    Oh I see what you're asking. Because fish refers to the many fish in that species, he uses "they" in the second part of the sentence to refer to the many fish in the species. You can use a singular verb with fish when the word refers to a single fish. The fish was swimming very fast to escape danger, but you can also write it as johndot did above.
     
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