Fish or Fishes: What is the Plural Form of Fish?


Some believe that the plural form of fish is fish, while others claim that the plural of fish is ‘fishes.’ In fact, they can both be correct. English nouns can have irregular plural form, causing confusion for many people, even for ones that are native to the English language. Sometimes, there are no exact rules, causing further confusion. Thankfully, as for the word ‘fish’ there is a way to understand when to use ‘fish’ or ‘fishes’

The most commonly used plural form of fish is ‘fish.’ This is because the word ‘fish’ is more versatile. For example, if you are referring to a group of fish of a single species, ‘fish’ would be the correct word to use. In this case, using the word ‘fishes’ would be incorrect. However, if you are referring to a group of fish of multiple species, either ‘fish’ or ‘fishes’ can be correct as a plural form of fish.

Plural Form of Fish: Example use of ‘Fish’

If there are eight fish in a pond, consisting of eight goldfish, the correct word to use will be ‘fish.’

One can say, “Come check out the pond. There’s a lot of fish swimming in it!”

If there are eight fish in a pond, consisting of four goldfish and four koi fish, the word ‘fish’ can still be used.

One can say, “Come check out the pond. There’s so many different fish in there!”

Plural Form of Fish: Example use of ‘Fishes’

If there are eight fish in a pond, consisting of eight goldfish, the word ‘fishes’ will generally not be used.

However, if there are four goldfish and four koi fish in the pond, the word ‘fishes’ can be used.

One can say, “Come check out the pond. There’s so many different fishes in there!”

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Fish Laboratory was created by fishkeepers for fishkeepers. Since 2013, we have been publishing expert content to help aquarists and breeders grow some of the most robust specimen and keep their fish stock healthy.

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