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A dog is the man's best friend. Options
Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 1:24:31 AM

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(1) The dog is a man's best friend.

(2) A dog is the man's best friend.

[Quoted from a grammar book for Japanese learners of English.]

Does #2 sound perfectly natural to you?

#1 is OK with me, but I'm not sure if #2 sounds perfectly natural to native English speakers' ear.
BobShilling
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 2:18:25 AM
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#1 is fine. #2 is not.
Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 6:00:53 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
#1 is fine. #2 is not.

Thank you very much, Bob.
Romany
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 7:19:11 AM
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I've never heard the "man" in this saying ever used with any article at all.

The saying doesn't mean that a dog is a friend only to males - which putting the article in suggests.

The saying came about in the days when "man" was supposed to represent the whole human race - and often took a capital letter!

The point i'm making is that "man" here is not singular: it's being used inclusively to mean "humankind": therefore it doesn't take any article at all.
BobShilling
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 7:35:50 AM
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Romany wrote:

The point i'm making is that "man" here is not singular: it's being used inclusively to mean "humankind": therefore it doesn't take any article at all.

That's true of the well-known saying.
However, Reiko's first sentence is grammatically correct.
palapaguy
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:07:08 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
Romany wrote:

The point i'm making is that "man" here is not singular: it's being used inclusively to mean "humankind": therefore it doesn't take any article at all.

That's true of the well-known saying.
However, Reiko's first sentence is grammatically correct.


Actually, both sentences are grammatically correct in certain contexts.

BobShilling
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:40:02 AM
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True.
Reiko07
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 10:32:29 PM

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Thank you very much, palapaguy and Bob.

I don't like that fact that the word "man" is being used in the following version:

(3) A dog is a man's best friend.

Have you seen a gender-neutral version of this sentence?
palapaguy
Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 10:43:25 PM

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Reiko07 wrote:
Thank you very much, palapaguy and Bob.

I don't like that fact that the word "man" is being used in the following version:

(3) A dog is a man's best friend.

Have you seen a gender-neutral version of this sentence?


How about "A dog is someone's best friend"?

Or the form that's in vogue lately, "A dog is their best friend"?

Or even "A dog is everyone's best friend"? This one solves the gender and inclusiveness issues!

Reiko07
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 1:22:23 AM

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palapaguy wrote:
Or even "A dog is everyone's best friend"?

I love that! Dancing Thank you very much, palapaguy.

I'm not sure if my version works or not.

A dog is our best friend.
[my version]
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 11:20:21 AM

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Reiko07 wrote:
palapaguy wrote:
Or even "A dog is everyone's best friend"?

I love that! Dancing Thank you very much, palapaguy.

I'm not sure if my version works or not.

A dog is our best friend.
[my version]


Using "our" tends to restrict it to your family/group, although it is possible that it could mean all people.

For that to be true, however, you would have to have already put forth the idea of human/dog relationships.

However, it isn't clear if that is what you are saying, so it could be confusing. Using "everyone's" covers all people.
Reiko07
Posted: Wednesday, September 11, 2019 9:12:55 PM

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Thank you very much, FounDit.
Romany
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 1:55:31 PM
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A dog is a person's best friend.
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 5:50:55 PM

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It's an idiom.
Wilmar (USA)
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 5:50:55 PM

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It's an idiom.
Reiko07
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2019 9:37:22 PM

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Thank you very much, Romany and Wilmar.
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