Make Your Editor Cry: All the sudden vs. All of a sudden

Make Your Editor Cry:  All the sudden vs. All of a sudden

For many English as a second language folks, a common mistake is to write either “all the sudden” or “all of the sudden” instead of “all of a sudden.”

In many communities where English is not necessarily the first language, this phrase has started to creep into common speech and usage.

The correct phrase is “All of a sudden” when you are trying to say something happened “suddenly.”

“On a sudden” is another historical but outmoded variant.

PRO TIP: If you’re really trying to say something happened suddenly, try this handy time-saving replacement:

“Suddenly.”

More Examples:

Incorrect:

All the sudden we heard an unearthly cry.

All of the sudden he turned around and saw me.

Correct:

He sprang out of the room all of a sudden.

He sprang out of the room suddenly.

All of a sudden, she let out a piercing shriek.

Suddenly, she let out a piercing shriek.

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