Please tell me the difference between “Cats are smarter than dogs” and “A cat is smarter than a dog.”?

I know both these two sentences mean almost the same thing, but are there any differences in nuance? 

The former sounds to me like, in general, cats are smart compared with dogs, which also implies there are as smart some dogs as cats.Unlike the former, I can’t make it out what the latter exactly means. I learned that the latter is the same with “Any cat is smarter than a dog.”If that so, the latter is closer to “ The cat is smarter than the dog” than the former, in the terms of comprehensiveness.

4 Answers

Relevance
  • 4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    The first is plural. The second singular.

    • Kohei4 weeks agoReport

      So, there is little difference. I got it. Thank you for your answer.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 weeks ago

    They mean the same thing. Both of them are referring to cats and dogs in general, as groups rather than as individual animals. I do not see any difference in nuance. And they both mean the same thing as 'the cat is smarter than the dog' if you are using 'the cat' and 'the dog' to mean 'cats as a group' and 'dogs as a group'.

    If you are referring to individual animals when you say 'the cat is smarter than the dog', then the only way anyone would know that is through context, through the situation in which you are making the statement. For example, if you were in my house and I was talking about my cat and my dog and I said 'they are both nice animals but the cat is smarter than the dog', then you would know I meant that my cat is smarter than my dog. If a scientist is telling you the results of a study involving 10,000 cats and 10,000 dogs and the scientist says that the study proved that 'the cat is smarter than the dog', you would know that the scientist means cats and dogs in general.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • Dave
    Lv 5
    4 weeks ago

    The first faze is plural meaning that all cats are smarter than all dogs

    The second is singular meaning a cat is smarter than a dog as if holding one and pointing to the other ! On the other hand someone could argue the mean the same thing and would be right ! OK had enough to go the simple way we`v been caught up in a word game .

    • Kohei4 weeks agoReport

      I’m afraid I made you angry. If that so, I’m sorry. But I would like to make it clear as an English learner. I don’t actually think that cats are smarter than cats, or that to know this difference is so important. Just I want to know.

    • Login to reply the answers
  • 4 weeks ago

    There is no difference.

    • Kohei4 weeks agoReport

      Thank you for your answer.  I will keep it simple.

    • Login to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.