It's a small world


2019-07-01 00:00

Summary

Rob was out shopping when he bumped into half the BBC Learning English team. Feifei doesn't understand why he says 'it's a small world' when there are nearly 200 countries. Find out the meaning of this expression in The English We Speak.

Transcript 

Feifei
Hello and welcome back to The English We Speak. I’m Feifei.

Rob
And I’m Rob. Now, Feifei, do I have a story for you!

Feifei
Oh? Do tell!

Rob
Well, I was out shopping at the weekend when I ran into Neil!

Feifei
OK…

Rob
Well, we decided to get some lunch together, when who should we run into but Dan!

Feifei
Dan from the office? No way!

Rob
It gets weirder! Dan joined us for a bite to eat and then we saw Sam and Sian getting lunch together as well! It was a big, unplanned BBC Learning English meet up!

Feifei
That’s unbelievable - it’s a small world, isn’t it?

Rob
Feifei, what are you talking about? It’s a massive world: Over 190 countries, more than 7.5 billion people – it’s enormous!

Feifei
Rob, I’m not talking about the size of the world. I’m saying that it was quite a coincidence that you all met up!

Rob
I know! What are the chances that five of us would all meet up at the same time!

Feifei
Indeed! Let’s take a look at some other examples of this phrase.

Examples
Your brother works in the same office as my girlfriend! It’s a small world!

I can’t believe you went to the same high school as me! What a small world!

A: We haven’t seen or spoken to each other for twenty years and now you’ve moved into the house next to mine! Unbelievable!
B: It’s a small world after all!

Feifei
This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English and we’re talking about the phrase ‘It’s a small world’. It’s used when we want to say that a surprising coincidence has occurred. It’s used particularly when two people meet unexpectedly, or have a mutual friend or connection. Rob told us how he met four of our colleagues on the same day in the same place.

Rob
That's right. And now if we're finished, I'd like to go off and do some shopping. 

Feifei
Oh yeah, what are you going to buy? 

Rob
A globe! All this talk of small worlds has reminded me I need to get one for my son. And there's a globe shop just round the corner. 

Feifei
Well, it really is a small world. 

Rob
In this case, yes! Bye. 

Feifei
Bye bye.