COMMENTS BY KIM: Is that one fish or two?

Is catching a limit of walleyes better than catching a limit of walleye?

Here I go again, messing with words that mess with my mind. Maybe yours too, especially if you read any further. Sorry. All of this is like a stupid song I can’t get out of my head. It sort of reminds me of a line in a country song – “If you won’t leave me alone, I’ll find somebody who will.”

This pluralizing stuff is goofy. The accepted plural version of walleye, more than one, is both walleye and walleyes, but that rule doesn’t apply to other commonly caught fish in North Dakota such as perch, northern pike and smallmouth bass. Or other fish like carp, sturgeon, paddlefish and buffalo.

Then there’s muskellunge, which are a fish getting more and more attention from anglers at Lake Audubon. The plural of muskellunge is muskellunge. No “s.” Never. So how does the English language get around that?

Easy, really. You just shorten muskellunge to muskie and then add an “s” if you are referring to more than one muskie. Muskies. Muskies is okay but never muskellunges. It gets worse. Muskellunge can be shortened to either muskie or musky, but there’s no plural for musky. Only muskies.

You can’t catch a limit of northern pikes or perches either, just pike and perch. Bluegills? That’s okay. I have no idea why? An old dictionary in my desk has no plural for bluegill. I guess Webster didn’t want to take on such a silly subject. Not to to mention salmon, trout and burbot.

If there’s multiple species of fish, such and rainbow trout and brown trout, then “trouts” can be used. But what about rainbows? Perfectly acceptable if talking about various strains of rainbow trout, like anyone would really know what they are anyway.

I’m losing it, I know. No one really gives a darn about an extra “s” anyway. Just like gunna, shoulda and woulda and the smorning and couldn’t care less and have your cake and eat it too. There are bigger problems in the country and the world, I know, but the “evolution” of the English language, at least its common usage, is sometimes difficult to follow.

Really, though, I understands it. At least I think I do. Enough. I’m going fishing for largemouth, or largemouths, but not basses.


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