The singular form of fish is fish. The plural form of fish is also fish. What are their possessive forms?

  • 2
    Note that fishes is also a valid plural form (used in certain contexts) and is confusingly similar in pronunciation to the possessive fish's. – TrevorD May 21 '13 at 0:44
  • @TrevorD I believe that's for referring to groups of fish of different species. – batpigandme May 21 '13 at 1:24
  • @batpigandme So? – Kris May 21 '13 at 7:07
  • @Kris so, if you're wondering when to say fishes as opposed to fish now you know... I did many 'biodiversity' sample dives for marine biology, and when writing them up it certainly made a difference. – batpigandme May 21 '13 at 10:04

As Wikipedia and the Purdue OWL both note:

  • Singular possessives always add -’s.
  • Plural possessives add -’s if they don't already end in s.

Because the plural fish does not end in s, it becomes fish’s, just like the singular form.

Note: In some contexts, the plural of fish is fishes. Because that does end in s, it becomes fishes’.

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  • What a gigantic pain English can be and I am a native speaker. – SomeShinyObject May 21 '13 at 0:52
  • Except that it could as well be fishes' – Kris May 21 '13 at 7:05
  • Neither of the cited references says anything about fish or fishes -- or did I miss it? – Kris May 21 '13 at 7:07
  • I know. However, the statement "Therefore,..." is categorical and suggests no riders to "whether it is singular or plural." – Kris May 21 '13 at 7:15

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