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Video transcript

hello grammarians I wanted to talk today about a different kind of a regular plural so we've been talking about regular plurals where you take a word and you add an S so for example the word dog becomes dogs you add an S and that this is the regular plural here but I've been talking about the irregular plural the plural the multiple form of a verb that is not regular irregular but today I figured we talked about something called the base plural which I will illustrate for you using our friend the Sheep now sheep is a very strange word in that it doesn't matter whether or not there's more than one of them the the form of the word always looks the same whether it's one sheep or two sheep it's an irregular plural you don't add an S to this is called a base plural because the base sheep the thing that you would normally add this particle s to doesn't change whether it's singular sheep or plural sheep so there was one sheep on the hill there's a sentence what if we put another little baby sheep on that hill little lamb well now the sentence looks like this two sheep on the hill now the only difference between these two sentences is that there's one sheep and two sheep and therefore that means that the verb changes to a plural conjugation so there was one sheep there were two sheep on the hill but everything else stays exactly the same one sheep two sheep this is very strange it's a base plural so in standard English the form is two sheep and not two sheeps you see now there are more words that do behave this way so let's let's go investigate so there are a small number of words that also behave this way the way sheep does these weird sheep plurals these base plurals one of them is fish so you could say the fish are plentiful this season but you can also say you know the fish is delicious you could say the Bison migrate west or you could also say the bison migrates West indicating a single bison you see bison can be singular or plural fish can be singular or plural as is so frequently the case there is a special exception regarding the word fishes which you may have heard before and fishes is a word that we would use when we're talking about individual species of fish and fish is the word that we would use to refer to individual fish so let's say your uncle Marty is a prodigious fisherman and he catches uh he goes fly-fishing one week and he comes back he has thirty fish Marty caught 30 fish but let's say on the other hand your aunt Marta is a prodigious marine biologist and she studies 30 different types of fish she would say Marta studies 30 fishes and that doesn't mean that she studies 30 individual fish that means you studies 30 types of fish that's the difference fishes is referring to species fish refers to individuals that's how you'd use them in the plural so to review there is this entire class of words called base plurals where the word itself the base doesn't take an S for the plural it's just the same the singular is the same as the plural so that gives us words like sheep fish and bison there aren't a ton of English words that behave this way where the plural is the same as the singular I just wanted to make you aware of some of the most common ones there are also more examples in the exercises so I just wanted you to be aware of them you can learn anything David out