- For Teachers
I can't catch the clear meaning of the sentences. Please help.
I feel as sick as a dog.
Many a woman would be glad to marry him.
One has to wonder why 'many a' hasn't thrown the prescriptivists into conniptions. Is it not "illogical"?
What's illogical about it?
adjectiveeach of a large indefinite number; "many a man"; "many another day will come"
Murray in his English Grammar. New York: 1805, p45, writes that the indefinite article "a" is sometimes placed between the adjective "many" and a singular noun, as in many a gem and many a flower, meaning many gems and many flowers, separately, not collectively.
nary a - Wiktionary
In UK, you would most likely hear the phrase "sick as a parrot"
This is from the Monty Python 'Dead Parrot' sketch, where the shop keeper insisted the parrot was not actually dead, but just sick.
Sick as a parrot is therefore REALLY sick... or 'dead sick'
Idioms: sick as a dog
Very ill, especially from a stomach malady. For example, I don't know what was in that stew but I was sick as a dog all night. This simile was first recorded in 1705. Why a dog should be viewed as particularly sick remains unclear.
1. (idiomatic) Very ill.
I caught that new strain of flu and for three days I was as sick as a dog.
* 1797, John Banks, The Albion Queens, or The Death of Mary, Queen of Scots: A Tragedy, J. Bell, page 32
Ay, but thou knowest he's as uncertain as the wind; and if, instead of quarrelling with me, he should grow fond, he'd make me as sick as a dog.
* sick as a parrot
"Sick as a dog," which means "extremely sick" and dates back to at least the 17th century, is also not so much negative as it is simply descriptive. Anyone who knows dogs knows that while they can and often will eat absolutely anything, on those occasions when their diet disagrees with them the results can be quite dramatic. And while Americans may consider themselves "sick" when they have a bad cold, in Britain that would be called "feeling ill." "Being sick" in Britain usually means "to vomit."
So to really appreciate the original sense of "sick as a dog," imagine yourself seated in the parlor having tea with the Vicar on a lovely Sunday afternoon, when Fido staggers in from a meal of sun-dried woodchuck and expresses his unease all over your heirloom oriental carpet. It's actually rather amazing that goldfish aren't more popular.