2

In the movie "In Which We Serve", a sailor strucks an acquaintance with a girl on a train and a short while after asks his father how did he get to know his future wife. The father replies that he met her on a train. The sailor says:

Well, it's a small world, and no error!

That seemed like a set expression of surprise, but I found only one other instance here.

I wonder what the words "no error" could mean. Do they mean "indeed", "no doubt about it", that is, about the fact that it's a small world?

4

I haven't heard 'and no error', but it is very probably the same as 'and no mistake', which is is used to emphasize the statement before it. You're correct that 'indeed' and 'no doubt about it' convey the same meaning.

  • Thanks! It's used later in the movie: "If I wasn't so tired I'd give them a cheer, and that's no error". Seems to be a variation on "and no mistake". – CowperKettle Nov 19 '14 at 20:57
  • 2
    I wouldn't necessarily trust the dialogue in that movie (where and no error occurs no less than three times) to be representative of actual speech at the time. I seriously doubt Noel Coward had much experience of how "commoners" spoke, and he accounts for both different instances of "small world and no error" in Google Books. FWIW, there are nine instances of "small world and no mistake", and one of those is also from Noel Coward (in Blithe Spirit, which I think is much better as a movie). – FumbleFingers Nov 20 '14 at 1:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.