In the end of the Pink Panther episode "Sink Pink", the pink panther says:

"Why can't Man be more like animals?"

Does this comparison employ correct grammar? It sounds wrong to me.

Link to original video

closed as unclear what you're asking by Cascabel, Edwin Ashworth, Laurel, NVZ, Dan Bron Jul 6 '17 at 2:18

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Seriously...you are asking about the grammar on a cartoon??? – Cascabel Jul 4 '17 at 2:13
  • @Cascabel They can't get it wrong all the time. Should OP have lied and said 'In a recent David Attenborough series ...'? – Edwin Ashworth Jul 4 '17 at 2:48
  • 1
    @Cascabel I'm not sure how a claim to grammatical correctness in the source material in a question on grammatical correctness is required for the question to be valid. I think you'd have a lot of trouble trying to find examples where the author says "by the way everything you're reading here is completely grammatically correct, so feel free to discuss the correctness of my grammar in case you find it not to be correct". – homework Jul 4 '17 at 19:04
  • 1
    @Cascabel The "venerated" Pink Panther does not rely at all on fractured grammar or speech in general. This specific episode is one of the few that have the Panther speaking, and, I think, in an attempt to show sophistication, he is given a British accent. I don't think the argument of charm is actually relevant at all here.I also find it interesting that you would say that an analysis of a cartoon would be a better question, based on your previous remark. – homework Jul 5 '17 at 3:41

There aren't any grammatical rules that would make comparing a singular noun to a plural noun incorrect. But often it doesn't make much sense to do so because comparing a singular to a plural has an obvious difference of cardinality. It's like comparing apple to oranges.

I think if you replace "Man" with "Mankind" in your sentence, it will sound less odd because "Man" is often used non-collectively ("That man is nice"), but "Mankind" can only be used in a collective sense.

"Why can't Mankind be more like animals?"

"Mankind is animals."

This answer goes into detail about subject-complement agreement with respect to plurality. It holds irrespective of whether the sentence is comparing the subject to the complement or is very simple like "The thing is the books."

  • Reason for downvote? – homework Jul 4 '17 at 3:28
  • 1
    When I was studying biology 50+ years ago it was considered correct to refer to the human species as 'Man'. I think the Pink Panther cartoons date from the same era. – Kate Bunting Jul 4 '17 at 10:12
  • @plethorum I downvoted for an error in SV agreement in a discussion about SV agreement. I have fixed it, and removed the DV. – Cascabel Jul 4 '17 at 20:39

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.