All of a Sudden

Meaning of “All of a Sudden”

The phrase “all of a sudden” means to happen quickly and suddenly sometimes with an element of surprise and unexpectedness. It simply means that an incident occurred without warning.

Origin of “All of a Sudden”

The phrase “all of a sudden” is stated to have been used by William Shakespeare in his play, The Taming of the Shrew, for the first time in 1596 when the play was published. It was used by the character, Tranio as, “I pray, sir, tell me, is it possible / That love should of a sudden take such hold?” though in the first folio it was “sodaine,” which became “sudden” and then transformed into this phrase.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

All of A Sudden by Orhan Veli Kanik  

Everything happened all of a sudden.
All of a sudden daylight beat down on the earth;
There was the sky all of a sudden;
All of a sudden steam began to rise from the soil.
There were tendrils all of a sudden, buds all of a sudden.
And there were fruits all of a sudden.
All of a sudden,
All of a sudden,
Girls all of a sudden, boys all of a sudden.
Roads, moors, cats, people…
And there was love all of a sudden,
Happiness all of a sudden.

Orhan Veli Kanik is a Turkish poet. The poem beautifully presents the common phenomenon of daylight. The poet believes that the works of nature happen “all of a sudden” and that this suddenness surprises everybody. The poem ends on this phrase with that when everything happens, ‘all of a sudden’ there is love and happiness too. The poet has used this phrase thirteen times and sometimes twice in the same verse. This repetition stresses upon the meanings of the phrase.

Example #2

All of a Sudden by Matt Monro

We were fools you and I
Now we know it
We stood still as the days moved along
Love was ours by our eyes didn’t show it
Suddenly we can see we were wrong

All of a sudden this world’s yours and mine
All of a sudden water tastes like wine
Now every moment there are songs to sing
All of a sudden everything

The above stanzas from the song show that the lovers did not realize the moment they fell in love. They thought the time has stopped. However, when they realize, it shot past them fast until they felt that they were wrong. The phrase has been used in the second stanza where it shows the meanings of surprise and suddenness. Both the poet as well as his beloved realizes that the world is now theirs and that everything has suddenly changed.

Example #3

A Sudden Story by Robert Coover

“Once upon a time, suddenly, while it still could, the story began. For the hero, setting forth, there was of course nothing sudden about it, neither about the setting forth, which he’d spent his entire lifetime anticipating nor about any conceivable endings, which seemed, like the horizon, to be always somewhere else. For the dragon, however, who was stupid, everything was sudden. He was suddenly hungry and then he was suddenly eating something. Always, it was like the first time. Then, all of a sudden, he’d remember having eaten something like that before; a certain familiar sourness…And, just as suddenly, he’d forget. The hero, coming suddenly upon the dragon (he’d been trekking for years through enchanted forests, endless deserts, cities carbonized by dragon breath, for him suddenly was not exactly the word), found himself envying, as he drew sword (a possible ending had just loomed up before him, as though horizon had, with the desperate illusion of suddenness, tipped), the dragon’s tenseless freedom.”

The above paragraph discusses how a story begins. It shows that the protagonist starts the story. While the narrator is thinking, he suddenly creates mythical and fantasy creature, dragon and adventurous events. The story is about a brave hero and a silly forgetful dragon. Here the phrase means to show that everything happens unexpectedly and suddenly to create suspense in the story.

Example #4

All of a Sudden by R. P. Woolf

All of a Sudden is the story of three people who mysteriously died on April 20th in different years. Although they had had different stories of their deaths, they try hard to acclimatize themselves into this new modern society. They face consternation in that they do not have a clear identity on account of their alienation in the society in which they have appeared on the scene. The story has unexpected and surprising twists in that all three characters have different fears and goals to achieve. Therefore, the novel has been titled with this phrase to show unexpectedness in it.

Examples in Sentences

Example#1: “It was sunny all morning. All of a sudden, now it’s raining heavily, and I don’t have my umbrella.”

Example#2: “All of a sudden I became aware of the sound. Someone was surely walking behind me.”

Example#3: “Mr. Pritchard is a very quiet person, but all of a sudden, he lost his temper and began yelling at everybody.”

Example#4: “My English teacher is very unpredictable. All of a sudden he will announce a test when most students are unprepared.”

Example#5: “Don’t worry I will call you before I visit. I don’t like visiting all of a sudden and trouble you on your weekends.”