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Should You Say “All Of A Sudden” Or”All Of The Sudden?”

All of a sudden” is an English phrase that often used as a fancy way of saying “suddenly.” Many people also are confused if they can use “all of the sudden” instead. 

In addition, “on a sudden” is another similar form with a historical context. However, it is considered to be outdated. In the end, “all of a sudden” is the current accepted usage. 

Al Of A Sudden” V.s “All Of The Sudden” 

All of the sudden” is one of the oldest forms of the phrase, and it eventually morphed into the common form, “all of a sudden.”

Some scholars think that the phrase gained popularity through Shakespeare, who used it in The Taming Of The Shrew. 

Others believe that “on a sudden” arose from Common Scottish speech, specifically from the novel Robinson Crusoe in 1719.

Regardless of where the phrases originated, “all of a sudden” is the only acceptable version. Additionally, depending on your formality, you may hear “all of the sudden” used in informal speech.

Examples Of Using “All Of A Sudden” 

  • I was sitting on the park bench, and all of a sudden, a group of squirrels came over to visit me. 
  • During the race, the green team was leading until all of a sudden, and the red team took the lead. 

When Did “All Of A Sudden” Become The Correct Form? 

There is no true reason or explanation for why “all of a sudden” became the correct/popular form. Perhaps people liked it as a more eloquent way of saying “suddenly.” There is a more nuanced meaning to “all of a sudden” than “suddenly,” however, if you are using it conversationally, it should be no big deal.

Examples From International Media Sources

At one point, Jewford said, he was doing so much speed that the ends of his handlebar mustache just fell off. And then there was cocaine. “All of a sudden, it was there. It just appeared. And it appeared in mounds. And then shovelfuls.” – The New Yorker

But then she moved to London and broke up with her long-term boyfriend. “I had come down to London with my boyfriend to start studying for a nursing degree. We’d been together for five years and it was a very close relationship. All of a sudden he just left. He was my first boyfriend and I took it very badly. I got very depressed and tried to kill myself. I was self-harming. With exams coming up I knew I had to get a grip.” – The Independent 

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By Ryan Fisher

Ryan holds degrees from Pacific Lutheran University and specializes in proofreading, editing, and content writing with an emphasis on business communication.

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