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Edamame and grammar !!!help!!!

Edamame IS
Edamame ARE

If you're a Japanese speaker, please help..... Is the word "edamame" plural or singular (a mass noun or count noun for you grammarians).

Is it a word like "cattle" where you say "the cattle ARE in the meadow" or is it singular like "cow" where you say "the cow IS in the meadow"

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  1. Edamame is a plural noun in English. I don't even know if Japanese distinguish between singular and plural nouns.

    1 Reply
    1. re: PeterL

      It's both in Japanese. They do not distinguish between singular and plural nouns but instead have a plethora of counters if it's necessary to know how many of a thing you have.

    2. I just found this paragraph on epicurious.com:

      "The Japanese name for fresh SOYBEANS. Edamame, which are usually bright to dark green, are available fresh in Asian markets from late spring to early fall. They're also available frozen. "

      So it's a plural noun.

      1. That's funny because we eat Edamame a lot and I use it in singular - "the Edamame at Sakura's is the best around".

        1 Reply
        1. re: lexpatti

          I think the reason you would use it as singular is beacuse you have omitted the word "dish" from the sentence. This is common in the English language. It's the same with Italian pastas. One would say "The fettucini alfredo is really good at Pagliacci's," even though clearly you are being served more than one noodle, which would be "fettucino," I believe.

        2. It's both, depending on the context, like "fish". There is no distinct pluralized form for edamame in English, as far as I know.

          It depends on whether you're talking about a dish (singluar), edamame in general (singular or plural) or multiple individual edamame (plural).

          The edamame with sea salt at X restaurant is the best in town.
          Edamame is an excellent source of protein./Edamame are an excellent source of protein.
          After Bob got through snacking, there were only two edamame left in the bowl and they looked a little soggy.

          The epicurious passage quoted by another poster could have been written in the singluar:

          "[Edamame is] the Japanese name for a fresh SOYBEAN. Edamame, which is usually bright to dark green, is available fresh in Asian markets from late spring to early fall. It is also available frozen."

          3 Replies
          1. re: akq

            Merriam-Webster.com cites the root of edmame to be eda, for "branch" and mame for "beans."

            When foreign words are used in the English language, usage rules are often thrown out the window. I think that it is like spaghetti. Spaghetti is the plural form, but how often do you see just one strand of spaghetti?

            I vote count noun. You can count the individual beans, but they are most often seen as a group. As such, acknowledge them as one, singular unit.

            1. re: miss_bennet

              I am not sure I understand your point - edamame in Japanese is not plural or singular, so I am not sure what rules are thrown out the window if used similarly in English.

              Interestingly, if you look at Merriam-Webster.com listing for "spaghetti" it does mention that it is the plural form of "spaghetto" in Italian, but there is no note in the "edamame" listing regarding plural vs. singular.

              1. re: akq

                My point was that the etymology cited on m-w.com mentions that the word comes from "branch" and "beans." Beans in the plural. Not "branch" and "bean."

          2. Japanese is quite vague. There is no plural verb or Japanese form, so as someone mentioned, it's usually indicated by context or counters. Personally, when my mom mentions purchasing preparing, snipping, eating, etc., she's talking collectively--so the bunch of soybeans (collective), rather than just one pod.

            So I think of it mostly as a plural entity. I also never say edamames.

            Given the vagueness, I think you can treat it as you would "beans"--you'd use them mostly in the plural context, but if you're talking about a dish--e.g. string beans is my favorite side dish--it takes a singular verb.

            1. This is why i love Chowhound. You can learn so much in all aspects of life. I never thought twice about referring to edamame as "their edamame is amazing!" but now maybe I should say "their edamame are amazing!"

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chew on That

                Ditto! Though this thread doesn't actually convince me which verb form is right in the sentence "my edamame admittedly have/has been in the freezer since July." At least I have support for whichever I use! :)

              2. Edamame is included in this year's list of words added to the M-W dictionary.

                1. If you are speaking English it really doesn't matter. I think generally, the sense in English is that Edamame is an uncountable noun anyway, so "Edamame is" can be considered correct in all cases.

                  In Japanese, you can only say "Edamame wa..." (枝豆は)