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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > What is the plural of starfish?    

What is the plural of starfish?


What is the plural of starfish?
I need help with this one! Some sites/dictionaries say that it is starfishes, while others say it is starfish.

So which one is correct? I am confused...


28 Mar 2009      


Both are correct, although I suspect most people would use starfish as plural.

28 Mar 2009     


I would say starfish as plural

28 Mar 2009     

United States

I was always taught that the plural of fish is fish.  I have often heard the plural "fishes" used and usually have corrected people.  Lately, I have seen dictionaries, etc. that say both are correct.  Maybe I am being old fashioned, but I still think "fishes" is wrong and thatīs how I teach it.
Douglas (US native)

28 Mar 2009     


I was taught that the plural of fish is fish, but if we refer to different types of fish, then you īre allowed to say fishes (codfish, catfish, etc.)

28 Mar 2009     

Russian Federation

According to Longman dictionary the plural of starfish is "starfish".
As for fish, the plural form is "fish".
The form fishes is used when referring to different kinds of fish (freshwater fishes of the British Isles).  http://www.diclib.com/cgi-bin/d1.cgi?l=en&base=coed&page=showid&id=27697

28 Mar 2009     


But there are many different species of starfish as well!

28 Mar 2009     


My comment is the same as Douglas īs. I would teach starfish but accept both.

The Australian National Dictionary says that the plural of starfish is starfishes, or collectively, starfish.

29 Mar 2009