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    Fish/Shrimp or Fishes/Shrimps?

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    Fish/Shrimp or Fishes/Shrimps?

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    How about fish? I hear it both ways. My American friend says the plural of fish and shrimp is fish and shrimp, but then I heard fishes and shrimps from native speakers. Is there a difference between AE and BE with these two words?
    VerfasserIch11 Nov. 08, 15:58
    Kommentar
    If I'm not mistaken, fishes is used to talk about different species.. More a biological term than kitchen-language..

    Found it:
    fish /f{I}{phon_caps}/ noun, verb
    > noun (pl. fish or fishes) Fish is the usual plural form. The older form, fishes, can be used to refer to different kinds of fish.
    1 [C] a creature that lives in water, breathes through gills, and uses fins and a tail for swimming: They caught several fish. * tropical / marine / freshwater fish * shoals (= groups) of fish * a fish tank / pond * There are about 30 000 species of fish in the world. * The list of endangered species includes nearly 600 fishes. * Fish stocks in the Baltic are in decline. * In the pool she could see little silvery fish darting around.—see also coarse fish, flatfish, sea fish, shellfish, wet fish
    2 [U] the flesh of fish eaten as food: frozen / smoked / fresh fish * fish pie * The chef’s fish dishes are his speciality. * Fish forms the main part of their diet.

    http://www.oup.com/oald-bin/web_getald7index1a.pl
    #1VerfasserWaringham (384862) 11 Nov. 08, 16:03
    Kommentar
    I try to explain the difference by using an example:

    In your aquarium you have fishes and maybe shrimps, as it is a specific number, but there are millions of fish and various kinds of shrimp in the ocean.
    #2VerfasserBama Torsten (293280) 11 Nov. 08, 16:06
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    #3Verfassermykl (442296) 11 Nov. 08, 16:10
    Kommentar
    There is a BE/AE-difference here, at least with regard to shrimps. In AE, you have shrimp for dinner, in BE you have shrimps.
    In a biological context the plural shrimps or fishes refers to different species. Also, in a biological context shrimp is not a synonym for prawn (contrary to what Wiktionary says). In colloquial speech and in the restaurant, they may be synonyms, but this depends on where you are. Brits tend to reserve 'shrimps' for a very small variety and prawns for larger species, while Australians call shrimps prawns and Americans call prawns shrimp (without the -s). As far as I know, prawns always go with a plural -s. If you are interested in details: Siehe auch: "Prawn" or "shrimp"?
    Both in AE and in BE you can have shrimp with your seafood sandwich, in this case it is a generic word which refers to the kind of meat (the sandwich may be composed of crab, fish, and shrimp).

    In all everyday contexts the plural of fish is fish. I don't think I quite agree with Bama Torsten. It's not just a matter of counting the individuals. If you have "many fishes" in your aquarium you explicitly draw attention to the fact that you have several different species.
    #4VerfassersebastianW12 Nov. 08, 08:07
    Kommentar
    All Guppies would be quite boring, wouldn't it? ;-)
    #5VerfasserBama Torsten (293280) 12 Nov. 08, 16:28
    Kommentar
    The difference between 10 fish and 10 fishes is also wether the fish/fishes are still alive.
    #6VerfasserMilkman26 Feb. 09, 12:41
    Kommentar
    I would never use the word 'fishes' in any context, and I am fairly sure that most speakers of English from any continent would agree. It is simply a non-word.
    #7VerfasserGraeme (UK)26 Feb. 09, 13:05
    Kommentar
    I tend to disagree with the last comment - "fishes" is a commonly used word in a scientific context, e.g. my science degree course.
    #8VerfasserCR02 Mai 09, 17:39
     
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