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

  • Seriously...you are asking about the grammar on a cartoon??? Jul 4, 2017 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 ...'? Jul 4, 2017 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, 2017 at 19:04
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    @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, 2017 at 3:41

1 Answer 1


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, 2017 at 3:28
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    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. Jul 4, 2017 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. Jul 4, 2017 at 20:39

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