pescado vs pez
It seems llike you use pez when talking about a fish in the river and pescado when talking about a fish you are eating. Is this correct? What distinguishes between the two.
Yep, that's right. Perhaps it helps to think of it this way: Pez is an animal, which you catch by doing the verb "pescar." Once a fish has been caught, it has been "pescado" - the past participle of "pescar." The "pez nadando" has become "pescado en tu plato"
Pez refers to live fish in the water and Pescado is fish ready for cooking or eating. Pescado is also the participle for the verb Pescar.....To fish.
But let's remember... some species of fish keep the form pez no matters they have already been fished.
- Pez Espada
- Pez Vela
- Pez Payaso
And never it's said something like
- Este es un pescado Espada disecado.
- Aquí tengo una foto de un pescado Vela muerto.
On the other hand, kids and lot of adult people still keep saying "pescadito" but not "pecesito" when they have live fish as pets.