Fish or Fishes???

English Grammar 6 April 2010 | 10 Comments

Do you know what the plural of fish is? Is it fish or fishes?

The answer is, it is both.

We usually use “fish” as the plural of fish when we are talking about 1 kind of fish.
I saw many spotted fish today in the lake. (They were all the same kind of fish.)

We usually use “fishes” as the plural of fish when we are talking about 2 different kind of fish.
I bought 10 different kind of fishes for my fish tank. (They were all different species.)

However, according to most dictionaries you can use either form in either instance.

10 Responses on “Fish or Fishes???”

  1. Aelphaeis says:


    I wondered about this as well!
    I have heard both, so of course I was kinda confused as to which one was correct and which one wasn’t.

    So, that’s how you use the two plurals (how ironic, the word “plural” in plural…LOL) for fish, then!

    Thank you, teacher! Another query solved! 😀

  2. T.S says:

    Nice to meet you.
    Japanese is my native language.
    I am weak in the English, and such a grammatical story thinks very gratefully.

  3. Yvonne says:

    LOL – Purals, the plural of plural.
    Let me know if you’re wondering about other things! Thanks for stopping by again. I always love reading your comments. 🙂

  4. Yvonne says:

    Nice to meet you too! I hope to chat with you on twitter soon! Thanks so much for your comment!

  5. Aelphaeis says:

    HAHA yeah, “plurals”. The irony is baffling…LOL.

    And thank you! I love to read your posts as well 🙂 I always learn something new, and that is very important to me! 😀

    BTW, I forgot to say it the first time, correct me if I’m wrong, but I think I spotted another slight mistake at the beginning.

    It says: “Do you know what the plural if fish is?”
    But, shouldn’t it be: “Do you know what the plural for fish is?”

    Again, I could be wrong, but I wanted to tell you just in case.

  6. Yvonne says:

    I should have you as my editor! I wanted to say ‘of’. 🙂 You were very close!

  7. Aelphaeis says:

    Haha I knew it!

    And I have another question: Can’t it also be “plural for fish”? Or is “plural of” the only correct way of saying it?

    I ask because I’ve heard “plural for (word)” a lot, so I thought it could be said like that.

  8. Yvonne says:

    Yes, you could use them both. I prefer ‘of’. It seems more natural to me.

    I really enjoy your questions! I like talking to people who love to learn!

  9. Aelphaeis says:

    OK, so TECHNICALLY that means I was still 100% correct, right? Haha.

    Man, you post so many things in just one day, you sure love to teach people! That’s so great! 😀 The only problem is that it’s kinda hard for me to keep up with all the posts and comment on all of ’em, I do my best, though LOL.

  10. Yvonne says:

    You are so sweet to read all of my posts and comment! I do love to help people with English. It’s such a great hobby for me! And I’ve gotten to meet some incredible people – like you!

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