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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > many a + noun    

many a + noun



hekateros
Portugal

many a + noun
 
Good evening everyone :)
 
One of my students came up with a question today, which I thought would be best clarified by an English native speaker.
My student ´s boyfriend, who is English, said this sentence when referring to an aggressive cat they saw:
"I bet it has seen off many a cat".
 
She wanted to know if this was correct...well, to me it sounds wrong but I would like to hear your opinions. Could it be a particularity from a certain region in Englad to say "many a cat"?
 
I ´ve never heard it... Have you?
 
Thanks ;)

18 Mar 2009      



Zora
Canada

I can ´t say how grammatically correct it is but yes, it is said... other examples:

"There ´s many a day that I just want to scream"

"Many a night, I lay awake thinking about my youth..."


It ´s almost a poetic way of speaking though...


18 Mar 2009     



hekateros
Portugal

Thanks a lot Zora.
 
I see it is said in other places but England!!
 
Greetings :)

18 Mar 2009     



cbkiryk
Australia

I grew up in the US and spent the past nearly forty years in Oz...That said it is common in both countries.
 
Many a day I regretted the decision to ... (insert regret).
 
Good question though!!!
Cy

18 Mar 2009     



dennismychina
China

Hi All,

It is certainly used in England. Poetic English is a nice way of expressing it Zora, as it date back to the 1200’s

Many a = a lot of singulars, numerous ones. It’s an adjective and is always used with a singular noun.

You can also say many is the time. There are a great number of. As in “”Many is the time I ´ve longed for a big juicy, greasy hamburger.

18 Mar 2009     



douglas
United States

Yep, we say it in the USA too.  Every language has its poetic license--I chalk this one up to that.  I am pretty sure it was used in popular, older English literature and found its niche in the language. It has a poetic aire about it, that usually signals someone trying to purposely be dramatic.
 
Douglas

18 Mar 2009     



hekateros
Portugal

Good evening!!
 
Thank you all for your reply! :)
 
I forgot to mention that my student is also a native speaker (from South Africa) but living in Portugal for many years. And that sentence also sounded strange to herStern Smile That is why I wondered if it were a particularity from England Tongue
 
I will tell her tomorrow what I found out about it, thanks to you!!

 

19 Mar 2009     



douglas
United States

If I remember right, John Wayne used it a lot in his movies.
 
Douglas

19 Mar 2009