Many a boy and girl has/have made the same mistake.

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  • mtmjr

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    If you expand it, the reason should become clearer:

    Many a boy and many a girl have made the same mistakes.

    Here, the subject is "many a boy and many a girl", which is necessarily plural due to the "and".
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    From the New Fowler's Modern English Usage:
    The type many a prophecy though notionally plural (= many prophecies) always requires a singular verb.

    In this case, are we talking about many a (boy and girl), many a couple? ... in which case the verb should be singular.
    Or are we talking about many a boy and many a girl? ... in which case perhaps we follow xqby's and mtmjr's advice and the verb should be plural.
     

    mtmjr

    Senior Member
    English (US)
    Well, intuitively, it feels plural. I don't know if there's any way to tell from context the scope of "many a", but I would naturally use "have" (probably either way...).
     
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