Translation:He thinks that he is somebody, but he is actually nobody.
That is my second favorite sentence in Dutch course after ”Een koe is geen nummer”.
This is kind depressing. Must be the most negative sentence I come across on a regular basis.
Between all the easy sentences, I was kind of surprised to run into this one :o
I don't understand the placement of the "is" in this sentence. The first half has it after "hij iemand", but the second half has it before "hij niemand". Why is that? Why is the "is" in two different places?
in first part, because of "dat" the verb goes to the end of the sentence. in the second part, "maar" does not change the verb order. however, having "eigenlijk" as the beginning of that sentence, "inversion" takes place. see the links below for further details:
"Wees uzelf, sprak ik tot iemand, maar hij kon niet, hij was niemand." (De Genestet)
Hij heeft misschien geen idee En hij mag geen stijl hebben Maar alles wat hij ontbreekt Nou maakt hij zich in ontkenning
The English could go with/without but I’m surprised Duo doesn’t accept “a nobody” and “a somebody.” Possibly it’s just our vernacular, but one could easily call someone “a nobody” in this context.