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?

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.


Yes, it is correct. It's a phrase that is combined with a singular noun. From http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/many:

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

  • 1
    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
  • 4
    @aaamos: I use it! – Barrie England Apr 2 '12 at 7:03
  • 1
    @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

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