I have never seen the following expression : only that’s ….. ( I understand “only that” grammatically instead of “only that’s “….. )

‘Have you seen her yet?’ he asked.

‘Not yet.’

‘But you’ve heard something about her?’

‘Only that’s she’s an expert in her line.’

[Source: From Dashiell Hammett, Red Harvest]

I wonder if this is grammatically correct (common usage) or a kind of dialect used among English-speaking people.

I have searched the similar expression on the Internet. And I found some. So it doesn’t seem to be less frequently used. I would appreciate it if you could give me a piece advice on this. (This is way over my head.)


A Google books search for the phrase "she's an expert in her line" turns up five matches for Dashiell Hamemett's Red Harvest, ranging across the years of publication 1965, 1972, 1982, 1999, and 2010. In every case, the line of dialogue is given as

"Only that she's an expert in her line."

A search for the phrase "Only that's she's an expert," on the other hand, yields no matches.

Although the evidence would be even more convincing if Google Books offered a match to a version of the book from closer to 1929, when Red Harvest was first published, I consider it highly likely that the contraction that's in the wording "Only that's she's an expert in her line" is simply a typo for that in the edition that you are reading.


I may have watched too many loony toons with the rooster "Foghorn Leghorn" as a kid but this is how that decodes in my head:

‘Only, that is, she is an expert in her line.’

So it, I say, it is simply missing a few commas, that is.


I've never heard/seen that used before. I've lived in the Northeast U.S., the Southeast, and in Texas, and then the Southeast again. So I've heard a "right many" dialects. :)

I think it's just a typo.

Considering: "Only that’s she’s an expert in her line."
Literally means: "Only that is she is an expert in her line."

(and that doesn't make any sense... in any dialect)

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