Sign up ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Today on GUARDIAN life&style is this teaser:

There's many a garden outbuilding crying out for a makeover.

I'm wondering if this sentence is correct. I think there either should many be deleted (i.e. There is a garden outbuilding) or is should be are, the a should be dropped and an s should be added to verb outbuilding (i.e. There are many garden outbuildings).

Or does the sentence make sense in any way I don't recognize?

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by RegDwigнt Apr 2 '12 at 9:34

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, it is correct. It's a phrase that is combined with a singular noun. From

many a: a large number of

Many a good man has been destroyed by booze
John and I have talked about it many a time

share|improve this answer
It's not commonly used anymore, especially in everyday speech, but ash's answer is correct. – Amos M. Carpenter Apr 2 '12 at 6:59
@aaamos: I use it! – Barrie England Apr 2 '12 at 7:03
@BarrieEngland: As do I... but that doesn't make it common ;-) – Amos M. Carpenter Apr 2 '12 at 7:04
Just that I understand it correctly: A large number of refers to - let' say - 10 things but they are wrapped into one packet and we just refer to this one wrap? – Em1 Apr 2 '12 at 7:09
@Em1: Yes, as ash said, it's used with a singular noun, irrespective of the actual quantity. – Amos M. Carpenter Apr 2 '12 at 7:17

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