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Good day all. I would like to know what exactly Cecile McLorin Salvant has in mind when saying "no time" in the song called "Nobody"? Does it mean "never"?

"Nobody, I will never do nothing for nobody, no time!" (this song on Youtube).

Thanks!

closed as primarily opinion-based by Robusto, Chenmunka, Julie Carter, FumbleFingers, tchrist Aug 25 '15 at 23:14

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • Yes. The full expression is a prepositional phrase, 'at no time'.: at no time never At no time did I ever say or suggest or even hint that she should lie about what I was doing. {[Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms ](idioms.thefreedictionary.com/at+no+time)} Here, double negatives don't seem to worry the writer/s. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '15 at 11:26
  • "Not at any time" (in the future). – Hot Licks Aug 19 '15 at 11:46
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"No time" in this case is an informal double negative, such as is common in many informal American dialects, including many African-American dialects.

In learning formal English, you will learn that a single negative negates the sentence, and a double negative negates the negation, so that:

"I know nothing about birthing babies"

means you are ignorant, while

"There is nothing I don't know about birthing babies"

means you are competent. However, in informal speech, additional negatives can also be used to reinforce a negative meaning, so that:

"I don't know nothing about birthing no babies"

means you are completely ignorant of the birthing process.

The negatives in the passage you quote serve this purpose: reinforcing the overall negative aspect of the sentiment. If you were to rephrase it in a more formal American register, it might read like this:

I will not, at any time, do anything for anybody.

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