be your accomplice all by myself

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
Madeline kills Helen and there is nothing for Ernest to do but to try to bury the body. While he prepares the bag, Madeline idles. He shouts:
-- Are you just gonna sit there?
-- What?
-- I'm not gonna be your accomplice all by myself, Madeline.
Death Becomes Her, movie

Grammatically, it sounds like "I'm not gonna be your only accomplice", but actually he means "I'm not gonna do all this by myself", right?
Thanks.
 
  • Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    It's a humorous remark whose thrust is "If I'm supposed to be your accomplice, then that implies that I should be assisting you, instead of doing all of the work by myself."

    Fixed.
     
    Last edited:

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    I.e., there's an elimination here: "I'm not gonna be your accomplice (and do all of the work) all by myself", is that correct?
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    "You don't expect me to do all the work, do you?", "Give me a hand, for cryin' out loud!", "Get off your butt and give me a hand here!", etc.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    By which you meant the phrase is not entirely grammatical, do I correctly understand?

    x-posted with ain't
    No, it's perfectly grammatical, it's just that its true meaning differs from its literal meaning (which is either irrelevant or tautological, depending on how you take it). That's what makes it humorous.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I'd say "sarcastic" rather than "humorous". He is, in fact, her only accomplice - he's complaining about having to do all the [if you'll pardon the expression] spadework himself.
     
    Last edited:

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I.e. was I right about the literal meaning in #1: "I'm not gonna be your only accomplice" ?
    That's the less likely possible meaning (which is irrelevant to this situation, since he's not proposing that they bring in anybody else to help). The more likely meaning is "If I'm going to be all by myself, then I'm not really your accomplice (which implied a partnership) at all."
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    < Previous | Next >
    Top