When there is “many” before “another,” should the noun after “another” be singular or plural?

Many another poem could I speak of which sang itself into my heart.
The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

There is many before another. In this case, does the noun after another need to be singular or plural?


For the sake of focus to your particular issue, I will provide my own example, but it will utilize the same special construction of “many a(n(other)) [noun]…”.


Many a soldier was lost that day.

It should be clear in this instance that it would be improper to say:

Many a soldier were lost that day.

(…though it does have a folksy ring to it.)

Basically, this special construction allows for exactly this sort of reference; it enables the speaker to refer to a single member of a wide group to describe something common to the rest. It has fallen out of general use to some extent, but is still heard fairly often in reference to “many a time” (e.g. “Many a time that goes unnoticed.”).

As far as the facts of a given matter, it will generally be equivalent to remove the “a” and refer to the group as a collective plural. In your example, this makes the sentence go from:

Many another poem could I speak of which sang itself into my heart.


Many other poems could I speak of which sang themselves into my heart.

or even more clearly (and even less beautifully):

I could speak of many other poems which sang themselves into my heart.

It’s the “a(n)” (buried inside “another”) that makes the singular reference necessary.

and http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/grammarlogs2/grammarlogs317.htm (#2)

Source : Link , Question Author : Listenever , Answer Author : Tyler James Young

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