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There has been many an argument about this topic.
There have been many an argument about this topic.

Would you use the plural for this? (I would, but are my instincts right?)

Thanks.

Barb
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I'm afraid I would say 'There's'.

I just looked it up in Quirk et al (everyone please open your Quirks to sect 10.35 n, p 758), where they say: "Grammatical concord is usually obeyed for more than and many a, although it may conflict with notional concord: Many a member has protested the proposal. Although the subject is notionally plural, the singular is preferred because member is analyzed as the head of the noun phrase."
Grammar GeekWould you use the plural for this?
No. As far as I know, "many a" ("many an") is always treated as a singular.

CJ
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Hi GG!

I'm sorry, but I have a question out of the topic.
When do we use "many a/an"?

I'm really curious about this.Emotion: thinking

Thanks!Emotion: smile
frostwhiteI'm sorry, but I have a question out of the topic.
When do we use "many a/an"?
It's the same as "many" and "a lot of": many a thing = many things.
Longman considers "many a something" to be formal or old-fashioned. The fact that GG isn't sure how to use it just implies it must not be commonly used by native speakers.

Longman uses the singular in this example:
Many a parent has had to go through this same painful process.

I'm not a native speaker, so I can't really say which sounds better to me, the singular or the plural. In many cases, it's not easy to figure out whether there should be notional agreement or grammatical agreement. However, I can't believe "notional agreement" can be "wrong": it is based on a mental process that seems natural and logical, and I guess it probably happens in every language. What I'm saying is that while "There is a group of people over there" is normal and expected, I'm not sure a sentence like "There are a group of people who are calling your name" should be considered unexpected. It would be "notional agreement": There are a group of people = There are some people, and they form a group /// There is a group of people = There is a group, and it's made up of people.
So, in other words, even though "There has been many an argument on this topic" is probably expected and more correct (statistically), I find it hard to believe "There have been many an argument on this topic" can't be accepted as "linguistically correct" (since it's based on notional agreement).

This is just my opinion, and I'd like to hear other opinions, especially from native speakers. I'm sorry if this is kind of off-topic (if it is and anyone feels like discussing this further, we can split the thread and move it in the linguistic section). I'm just trying to understand more about how languages work.
Thank you for the replies.

It felt like "have" with the "There have been" but when I reversed it to "Many an argument has..." only "has" worked.

Always good to know I can count on you all!
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CalifJim
Grammar GeekWould you use the plural for this?
No. As far as I know, "many a" ("many an") is always treated as a singular.CJ
This topic somehow brings me to this song:Emotion: crying





" Many a tear has to fall "
" But its all in the game "
" All in the wonderful game "
"That we know as Love ......."
KooyeenHowever, I can't believe "notional agreement" can be "wrong"
Believe it!!!

*Everybody have had breakfast by now.

CJ
CalifJim
KooyeenHowever, I can't believe "notional agreement" can be "wrong"
Believe it!!!*Everybody have had breakfast by now.CJ
I know, that's the problem! Generally speaking, it seems impossible to figure out whether notional or grammatical agreement should be used.
You might say that if a particle is too close to the subject, then grammatical agreement is expected. But this exception shows it's not really true:
Everybody has had breakfast.
Neither John nor Mary have had breakfast.
However, the "rule" would work if we considered the structures "A or/nor B" to be like "A and B", plural.

And by the way, what happens to "everybody" in this case, assuming each person has one hat?
Everybody grabbed their hat(s) and went outside.
Here it says that most people would use the plural when speaking. That would be notional agreement. ( http://books.google.com/books?id=7lFSQ0xK_i4C&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&ots=8P1L4Mu2B8&dq="everybody+grabb... )

If everyone pulls out their gun(s), we'd better start saying our prayers.
The plural sounds better to me in these cases, I don't know why. If it's ok, and if it does sound better, then it's notional agreement that makes this possible.
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