"many a" -- singular or plural? Or just awkward?

Ann Burlingham ann at BURLINGHAMBOOKS.COM
Wed Nov 12 20:26:09 UTC 2008

On Wed, Nov 12, 2008 at 2:35 PM, Arnold Zwicky <zwicky at stanford.edu> wrote:

> a side point is the choice between "many a X" and "many Xs".  i
> haven't looked at the matter at all, but i suspect that many people
> see a subtle difference between the two.

I do - I'm thinking that, say, "many a day" is less specific, more
metaphorical? I would use "it's been many days since..." in a more
specific manner, while "it's been many a day since..." would be less
about actual days, and more an unspecified period of time.

Ann Burlingham
Burlingham Books
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