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Jun 26, 2008 12:28 PM

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

      "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. The original comment has been removed
          1. 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

     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 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 mentions that the word comes from "branch" and "beans." Beans in the plural. Not "branch" and "bean."