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Should nouns borrowed from Japanese be pluralized?

I am having a hard time trying to find out the plural form of "sushi". Is it "sushis" or something else?

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Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/501/… –  Ina Oct 24 '12 at 15:56
    
Here in google it speaks about "sushis" (different types of sushi perhaps). –  user28919 Oct 24 '12 at 16:11
    
I will just note that in Japanese there is no plural form of 寿司 unless you were to confect one using counters (i.e., "pieces of sushi"). –  Robusto Oct 24 '12 at 17:56
    
@Robusto: It's a very good point about counters, but for the first point it's equally as valid to say that in Japanese there is no singular form of 寿司. Japanese has no singular and no plural. Linguists would say "grammatical number is not marked". But use of counters/classifiers in many languages without marked grammatical number is probably as close a concept as there is and this is often overlooked. –  hippietrail Oct 13 '13 at 10:05
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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

ODO's definition for sushi categorises it as a mass noun which means that it is considered uncountable. Therefore, the plural of sushi remains sushi.

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@FrantišekStanko your answer also says that sushi is uncountable. What part do you disagree with? –  nohat Oct 24 '12 at 16:12
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@nohat: I disagree with the idea that when a word is uncountable, it's automatically both singular and plural. According to that rule, "water" is plural. –  RiMMER Oct 24 '12 at 16:14
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Ah, I see. Yes, mass nouns are grammatically singular. –  nohat Oct 24 '12 at 16:32
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Sushi is also taken straight from Japanese, which does not have plural forms of words. Even where the noun is countable, the "s" is often omitted, such as is "The Seven Samurai". –  Dean Oct 24 '12 at 18:10
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Well, I don't think I'd say that the plural of an uncountable noun is the same as the singular, but rather that there is no plural of an uncountable noun. What would it mean to say, "Here are two sushis"? Except as an elision of "two pieces of sushi" or "two kinds of sushi". Just as we don't say, "Here are two waters" (unless we mean "two glasses of water", etc) or "Here are two airs". –  Jay Oct 24 '12 at 20:44
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Sushi is usually uncountable, but if you need plural, then yes, sushis is correct.

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can we consider "sushi" as both singular and plural forms? –  user1187968 Oct 24 '12 at 15:58
    
No, "sushi' is a singular form, like "water." You usually don't count "waters," like you don't count "sushis." I said usually, because there are exceptions. –  RiMMER Oct 24 '12 at 15:59
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I don't see that wiktionary has any reference for 'sushis'. Is there a reason to accept this as an authority? @user1187968 normally one would talk about "pieces of sushi" or "plates of sushi" rather than "sushis". I can't even think of a sentence where I'd want to find a plural for the noun "sushi". –  Ina Oct 24 '12 at 16:01
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@Ina "The most popular sushis in the United States are maki and nigiri." But I admit, "types of sushi" reads much better. –  David Schwartz Oct 24 '12 at 16:04
    
@DavidSchwartz ooh that hurts my eyes ;) –  Ina Oct 24 '12 at 16:07
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