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'Many a ' Options
Ashutosh S
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 9:38:48 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 12/7/2017
Posts: 3
Neurons: 69
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
'Many a' is always followed by a singular verb - e.g Many a student in the school is good at English.

Why then is the below marked incorrect ? (in one of the books with me) In short, my question is, isn't the below statement correct ?
The polling was marred at many a place by violence.
FounDit
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 3:01:25 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
Posts: 9,017
Neurons: 48,351
Ashutosh S wrote:
'Many a' is always followed by a singular verb - e.g Many a student in the school is good at English.
I think you mean "singular noun".

Why then is the below marked incorrect ? (in one of the books with me) In short, my question is, isn't the below statement correct ?
The polling was marred at many a place by violence.
I don't know why this is labeled as incorrect. It seems perfectly fine to me, although this usage is declining in modern times. I still hear it, however, from the older generation (mine and above).

The ngram viewer says it was very popular usage around 1900, but has been declining ever since.



A great many people will think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. ~ William James ~
IMcRout
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 4:24:02 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 5/27/2011
Posts: 35,204
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Location: Lübeck, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany
The only thing I could come up with is the word order.
Shouldn't 'by violence' immediately follow 'marred'?

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger. (Anon)
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 6:48:19 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 29,128
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
The thing which seems to 'not quite fit' is the 'at' (and IMcRout is correct that the sequence sound a little odd).

"Place" can mean either "a point in space" (which uses 'at') - or "an area, town or neighbourhood" (which uses 'in').

Meet me at a place of your choosing. (a single location)
We should meed in some place like Soho. (a district)

If I were to say this in my normal idiom, I would say:
"In many places the polling was marred by violence."

If you want to use 'many a place', the way I would expect would be:
"In many a place, the polling was marred by violence."


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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