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English Lesson --004: A Fish and A piece of Fish
By Mr. Rodney (New Zealand)
Hi, friends, I was smiling and laughing when I read the letters from Mr. Rodney for he pointed out some mistakes that I had made on the web site with so humor and helpful way. :-) So that I could not help to publish some of our discussions here and hope you enjoy it and also bring you a big smile or laugh. :-)

-- Shirley
Fri., Oct 28, 2005

Hi, Shirley:

I don't know whether other people tell you about the little places here and there, that your quaint use of English identifies you as Chinese, or whether you would like to be told of them. Your comments suggest that you do get plenty of feedback already. An example is your expression "a peace of fish in the sea" - on the "About Shirley" page - I am not sure whether you meant "peace" as a measure word (which it is not), in which case, "a fish in the sea" would be better, or whether you wanted to say something about the peaceful feeling of you have when you see fish in the sea. But I can tell you about other examples too, if you would like.


Hi, Rodney,

Thanks a lot for your responding, they are really helpful.

I am smiling for what you tell me about the joke that I have made on the web site. No, I did not realize that before you taught me at all. : -)

I am laughing about my ^ a peace of a fish ^ . What I wanted to say is a piece of a fish. : - )

Yes, I will be very happy to see more examples of yours about that confused in my English. : - )

It sounds like fish can not be accounted, so, I did not use a fish , could you also please teach me about that?

Take care and thanks,


OK, Shirley:

Thank you for your reply.

A piece of fish is just a part of a fish, what you might get if you order fish at a restaurant. But for fish to be swimming, they must be entire, not in pieces. So I think you would be rather startled to see a piece of fish swimming! :-)

As to the countability of fish, the English word "fish" is confusing in this respect. It is like sheep and deer, in that its normal plural does not take an "s", but is instead the same as the singular form. (You can blame the Germanic origins of English for this confusion!) Thus, you can have one fish, two fish, several fish, many fish. But fish are countable. You can see fish (meaning plural - several fish), or you can see a fish (singular, just one fish). So, instead of your "piece of fish", I think you probably meant to say "a fish" (meaning a whole fish, not just part of one).