Is it correct to say "Many's the hour have I spent listening to his fatuous ideas"? I'm not quite sure if inversion is possible with "many's the..." My gut feeling says "why not?!", but my left hemisphere is dubious about it.

  • 1
    It works to my ear, though it makes the expression sound very old-fashioned and dramatic. Jan 8, 2020 at 18:59
  • Have you googled "Many the hour's have I"? Or investigated usage on Google Ngrams? Jan 8, 2020 at 19:08
  • @MikeGraham Neither old-fashioned nor dramatic to me – just completely ungrammatical. Jan 8, 2020 at 21:18
  • In addition to it being an ungrammatical construction, two inversions in a row sounds awful, and pretentious. Jan 8, 2020 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


With this exact wording, no. It would be ungrammatical. "I have spent..." is a relative clause to "Many's the hour," which is interestingly already inverted itself:

Many is the hour is like saying Fair is my beloved!

And the relative clause should follow as:

Many is the hour (that) I've spent listening to his fatuous ideas.

With its adverbial synonym "Many an hour," though, it would be perfectly fine:

From The Collected Works of John Buchan: Spy Classics, Thrillers, Adventure ... :

Many an hour have I spent by the big fish pond at Rohaine.

From The Visitor: Or, Monthly Instructor:

Many an hour have I and my playmates pelted that tree with sticks and stones.


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