Scene 1

Yuki laughed. "You know, sometimes I wonder if you live in the same city as the rest of us."

Scene 2

"That's right," Takeshi suddenly said. "Did you feel the earthquake last night?"

Eri stared at Takeshi with her lips slightly parted. You too? She could barely believe it. It was the second time someone had asked her the question. Am I the only one who didn't feel the earthquake? she wondered. Am I indeed living in the same city as everyone else?

As you can see Eri is repeating what Yuki told her on Scene 1. Is it correct to use indeed in this case?

  • 2
    'Indeed' is merely being used as an emphasiser, a pragmatic marker showing the seriousness with which she is assessing her insensitivity, in 'Am I indeed living in [the] same city as everyone else?' Alternatives would be 'Am I really living in [the] same city as everyone else?' and 'I have to ask myself - Am I living in [the] same city as everyone else!?' Obviously, she's speaking metaphorically, not geographically. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 21 '13 at 9:26
  • 1
    I do understand what causes your confusion, but yes, this is perfectly normal usage – Armen Ծիրունյան Sep 21 '13 at 9:52
  • 1
    Try substituting really for indeed and see if that clears up the confusion. You could also do the same with not. All three would essentially mean the same thing: I'm in the same city as everyone else; how come I didn't feel it? – J.R. Sep 21 '13 at 10:14
  • You may have to tell us more as to why you think indeed may be incorrect, so we know what really is bugging you. By the way, yes, the use of indeed in the given sentence is correct and nothing unusual at all about it. – Kris Sep 21 '13 at 12:35
  • @Kris Well, as it usual in creative writing. It just didn't feel right to me. – janoChen Sep 21 '13 at 12:36

This picture may not be worth a thousand words but may serve as a possible answer:

enter image description here

  1. Really may have occurred in other senses than indeed in some of the sentences -- so that really is likely to have been unduly uppped.

  2. The preference for really over indeed appears to have occurred around 1907-08.

  3. We still read the classics, though, don't we?

  • Thanks you for the comments on the ngrams image. Ngrams presents numbers so it looks so official and respectable, but it may count different things than expected, and your comments point that out (there is the tendency in presenting an ngram to ignore the nuances). – Mitch Sep 21 '13 at 15:09

"Am I really living in the same city .." sounds more proper English-wise, but indeed has its own indeedic charm, indeed.


Really and indeed each would be as correct as the other in place of your indeed, but neither is quite right at that point. Slightly abstractly, the sequence you have is:

Yuki to Eri: “I wonder X”
Takeshi to Eri: “Did you Y?”
Eri to self: “I didn't Y. Am I indeed X?”

Plainly, Eri would ask herself “Am I indeed not X?” instead of “Am I indeed X?”. One can use phrasings like “Am I indeed not”, “Am I really not”, “Am I not indeed” and “Am I not really”, but none of them flow particularly well. An ngrams for Am I indeed not,Am I really not,Am I not indeed,Am I not really shows no incidence of “Am I indeed not”.

I included phrases “Am I not indeed” and “Am I not really” in the ngrams, even though opposite or somewhat opposite in meaning to the intended meaning. That is, one asks “Am I not indeed X” when coming to realize X applies after thinking it doesn't, where you want Eri to begin to think X does not apply after thinking it does. (For “Am I not really X”, the case is less clear; it can be taken either way.)

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