This isn’t New York City, or the Windy City, or Sin City, and we’re certainly no one’s Emerald City'

What does "no one's city" stand for?
The question is not to understand what Emerald city is but what construction "no one's" is.

  • The awesome ELL site exists for questions like this, enjoy.
    – Joe Blow
    Oct 11, 2016 at 11:49
  • Would be nice if you provided particular link for everyone interested in your answer.
    – antiplayer
    Oct 11, 2016 at 11:51
  • Are you aware that the "Emerald City" is a reference to the book Wizard of Oz? In the book it is a wonderful and magical city. So the writer is saying that this city is definitely not a wonderful and magical place.
    – Jay
    Oct 11, 2016 at 14:04
  • @Jay, I am pretty sure this is a reference you mentioned, this was not a concern. BTW this is from Chrysler commercial, which is pretty well-known
    – antiplayer
    Oct 12, 2016 at 12:07

2 Answers 2


"No one's" here is a way to say "is not" with extra emphasis.

For example, suppose someone asked you to deliver a message for him. If you don't want to do it, you might reply, "Sorry, I'm not a mailman." If you were offended by the request -- if you think you are too important a person to be asked to deliver messages or some such -- you might say, "Hey, I'm no one's mailman."

Sometimes it makes sense literally. Not only is something not true in this particular case, but it wouldn't be true for any person. In this example, if you said, "I don't think this is the Emerald City", a reader might understand this to mean that it isn't like the Emerald City for you, but it might be for someone else. But "this is no one's Emerald City" says it isn't like the Emerald City for anyone. (Of course it's still an opinion.)

But really it's an idiom and not meant literally. It means "very much not".

Note this idiom is normally used in the form "X is no one's Y", where X is a speicifc thing and Y is some class of things. BTW it's also often said as "is no man's" rather than "no one's".

Note that the same words could mean that it (whatever the "it" is you're talking about) doesn't belong to anyone. For example, if I read the sentence, "Bob is no one's auto mechanic" with no context, my first guess would be that the writer means that Bob knows very little about repairing cars. It's not just that he's not good at it: he's very bad at it. But in context it could also be literal. It may be that Bob knows a lot about repairing cars, and the writer is just saying that nevertheless he does not repair cars for anyone. Like most things in language that can be ambiguous, usually which meaning is intended is clear from context, though of course sometimes a careless writer may leave it unclear.

  • 1
    seems like great answer!
    – antiplayer
    Oct 11, 2016 at 20:30

If I understand your question correctly, then "no one's" refers to "property of no one" A thing (in this case city) nobody would call their own.

  • you guessed correctly. Thanx
    – antiplayer
    Oct 11, 2016 at 11:58

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