the dog is man's best friend

renetta

Senior Member
Italy, Italian
Hello, what's the most common (or the correct) formula?

The dog is man's best friend

A dog is man's best friend

Thanks
 
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    EEUU-inglés
    Hello renatta,

    I am most familiar with a third version: Dog is man's best friend.

    I don't know what "correct" means when talking about idioms. Sometimes there is more than one version. If they are used, they are "correct" as colloquial speech. They may or may not please grammarians, but people do not adopt colloquial speech patterns for the benefit of grammarians.

    You dig? ;)
     

    MichaelW

    Senior Member
    English (British)
    You could say "the dog is man's best friend" (meaning the dog as a species and man as mankind) or "a dog is a man's best friend" (meaning a dog, no specific one, is the best friend of any man).
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    I would suggest googling if you really want to know: put the exact phrasing in quotes and see what numbers turn up. Me, I would have said 'A dog is man's best friend', but it could easily be 'a man's', and 'the dog' works too. Often idioms have exact, fixed wording and you just can't change it without it sounding wrong, but in this case the variations all sound okay.

    And remember what Groucho Marx said: Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read.
     
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