Nobody does nothing without them.

emre aydın

Senior Member
Turkish
The town marshal is talking to newcomers about "cowboys"(which seems like a criminal organization):

Marshal: The only real law around here is the Cowboys.
+ Cowboys? I had a run-in with a couple of them up in Prescott.
Marshal: Nobody does nothin' without 'em. I mean, they're it.
(Tombstone, the movie)

What does the marshall mean by "nobody does nothin' without 'em" ?
If he means "nobody can do anything about them", why doesn't he use "with", instead of "without", how would that sound to you if he said "nobody does nothin' with 'em"?

I also wonder what "it" is referring to in the sentence "they're it". Can you please tell me?

Thanks for your help.
 
  • Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    There are two issues here.
    1. "Nobody does nothing" - this is a double negative. It should be "nobody does anything without them," but this use of double negative is common.

    2. "without them" - they are in charge. Nobody does anything without their approval.
     
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