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

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Bradd Szonye, Matt E. Эллен, MetaEd, Kristina Lopez May 21 '13 at 14:04

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  • 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’.

  • 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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