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    #1

    neither here nor there

    Hi

    I know that when someone says: It's neither here nor there - it means that something is irrelevant.

    What if someone says: I'm neither here nor there. Does it mean that someone's life is maybe irrelevant?


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    #2

    Re: neither here nor there

    It probably means hallucinations.

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    #3

    Re: neither here nor there

    It's a line from a song.

    Runaway Train Lyrics - Soul Asylum


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    #4

    Re: neither here nor there

    No - it is an idiom, relating to some matter under discussion.
    It cannot be used figuratively about people.
    Literally:
    He:Is Tom there ...or still at the pictures?
    She: He's neither here nor there - and I ain't telling you where!
    (Totally artificial piece of conversation.)


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    #5

    Re: neither here nor there

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    No - it is an idiom, relating to some matter under discussion.
    It cannot be used figuratively about people.
    Literally:
    He:Is Tom there ...or still at the pictures?
    She: He's neither here nor there - and I ain't telling you where!
    (Totally artificial piece of conversation.)
    However, the original sentence was 'I am neither here nor there'.
    Diagnosis?

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: neither here nor there

    Quote Originally Posted by GUEST2008 View Post
    Hi

    I know that when someone says: It's neither here nor there - it means that something is irrelevant.

    What if someone says: I'm neither here nor there. Does it mean that someone's life is maybe irrelevant?
    If they did say it (I don't think I've heard it) they'd probably mean "I'm confused - I don't know what I'm doing'; but in this case they'd be more likely (in the UK, Ouisch ) to say one of these:
    "I'm at sixes and sevens" (not "at sixes and sevens with" anything; that soi-disant "idiom" was invented by Tim Rice for 'Don't Cry for me Argentina'.
    "I'm all of a muddle/tither".
    "I'm all mixed up."
    And, if the confusion affected some manipulative task, "I'm all fingers and thumbs. [I can't tie up this package properly]."

    What you may have heard is a mixture of the two expressions "He's not here" [=he's present in body but not in spirit] and 'he's not all there" [=he's simple-minded/mentally defective]. I don't think* those idioms would be used in the first person though.

    That's enough new idioms for one day.

    b

    *Someone whose mind is not on the job would say '[Sorry. Could you repeat that?] I was miles away.'

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    #7

    Re: neither here nor there

    My last post was started before all the other answers appeared. If it's a song lyric, the writer may well have done a Tim Rice - and the idiom means just what he wants it to mean.

    b
    PS - having read the Runaway Train lyrics
    I was wrong, he's not playing fast and loose with the language** but saying he's neither in one place nor in another, but in a rather unsatisfactory 'somewhere on the way'.

    **
    'Poetic licence is a thing
    That lets you write a line
    That doesn't good sound English
    And that doesn't even rhyne.'
    Last edited by BobK; 01-Jun-2008 at 14:38.

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    #8

    Re: neither here nor there

    Thank you for all the answers

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