are you nobody, either


Senior Member

A: I’m Nobody! Who are you?
B: Are you – Nobody – too?

This is part of a poem of Emily Dickinson's. I would like to ask if we can put ''either'' instead of ''too'' because ''nobody" is equal to ''not anybody," which makes the sentence negative.

B: Are you – Nobody – either?

Thank you.
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    No, you can't. B's reply is using "Nobody" as if it were a name, so it is not in fact negative in this sentence. Too is therefore correct, and either doesn't work.


    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Note that this poem is not a dialogue; there is only one speaker. Dickinson's line means "I'm 'nobody' (that is, I do not consider myself to be an important person); do you also consider yourself to be 'nobody'?"

    In reading the poem, remember that Dickinson's father was in the state legislature, and in the US Congress, and Emily had plenty of opportunity in life to meet people who thought they were "somebody", and who croaked about themselves all day like frogs.
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