I read the following sentence in a book I'm presently reading:

"Many a lad would envy you".

I believe we could say "Many lads would envy you". These structures "Many a lad" and "Many lads" are they similar in meaning and in context (formality, etc)?

Thank you for a comment.

1 2
Yes, they have the same meaning.
 Is the setting of the book in a region, of the British Isles such as Scotland or Ireland? Or is it set many years ago in time?  This is typical of lilting speech. 
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Hi Ruca

To me 'many a lad' sounds either old-fashioned or a bit poetic. Since this sounds like something said to a young woman (lass perhaps as in lads and lasses), it might be that the speaker was trying to charm her.

Mind you I am only likening this to 'many a time' though so I might be wrong.

Hope it makes sense.


Thank you for your comments.

It's a book by an American author, although one of the main characters is Scottish. The story takes place in the beginning of the 19th century. So, it might well be an out-of-date expression.

Many a lad would envy you. I believe it 'Many a lad ... ' is out-of-date. However, in other contexts, 'many a ... ' is fine.

Many a good man has been destroyed by drink.
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"Many a" is a very Scottish expression. My grandparents were Scottish, so, as a child I heard many lilting expressions like this one. It is also poetic, as in the song "House of the Rising Sun"
There is a house in New Orleans,
they call the "Rising Sun",
It's been the ruin of many a good girl
And God, you know I'm one.
May I ask you what are lilting expressions, Alphecca? I gave a look at my Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary but its meaning was not very clear for me.


"Lilt" is often used to describe the way Scottish people speak.
Lilt is a verb (or a noun) - Its definition is:
To say, sing, or play (something) in a cheerful, rhythmic manner.
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