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?


1 Answer 1


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. Apr 2, 2012 at 6:59
  • 4
    @aaamos: I use it! Apr 2, 2012 at 7:03
  • 1
    @BarrieEngland: As do I... but that doesn't make it common ;-) Apr 2, 2012 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, 2012 at 7:09
  • @Em1: Yes, as ash said, it's used with a singular noun, irrespective of the actual quantity. Apr 2, 2012 at 7:17

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