All of a sudden

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Spaniard, Apr 14, 2006.

  1. Spaniard Senior Member

    Spain - spanish
    Hello everybody! I want to ask you about the topic above.

    The sentence is:
    - I hadn't time to book a room; I have all of a sudden left.
    - I hadn't time to book a room; I have left all of a sudden.
    I don't know whether to use the first one or the second one. Is it the same? Can I only put the adverb at the end? Or between the auxiliary and the participle?

    Thanks a lot!
     
  2. moonfullofstars Junior Member

    English; Australia
    I'd say neither is correct. I'd say this would be correct:
    "I hadn't time to book a room. I left all of a sudden".

    Actually, though not grammatically incorrect in some circumstances (and you'd certainly hear people say it that way), strictly speaking you should say it the following way (if you meant that you were running short on time earlier and didn't have time to book a room because you had left suddenly). In that case
    "I had left all of a sudden"
    would be correct.
     
  3. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    The first one sound more forced to me, whereas the second almost va naturalness to it. I would omit the 'have' and just say "I hadn't time to book a room; I left all of a sudden."
     
  4. Sofia_ Junior Member

    English, Korean
    I think you can say:

    I didn't have time to book a room. I left all of a sudden.

    or

    I haven't had time to book a room. I had to leave all of a sudden.
    (although the meaning is a little different)

    In USA, we don't usually say "I hadn't+ noun"
     
  5. moonfullofstars Junior Member

    English; Australia

    Yes, I was thinking of mentioning that too. In Australia, you'd most commonly hear "I didn't have time to book a room. I left all of a sudden", although "hadn't" is perfectly correct, it sounds overly formal (but perhaps not in the UK?).
     
  6. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    You cannot use the present perfect to refer to a completed event in the past.

    This is true.
     
  7. DaleC Senior Member

    "All of a sudden" is incorrect in this context, and the tense is incorrect.
    They're both wrong. And as "moonfullofstars" has noted, your example could have two possible meanings.

    In the Spanish of Spain, one meaning of the present perfect is "action which ended recently, between a few seconds and 24 hours ago, not necessarily with present relevance". This seems to be what led you to your suggestions. But the present perfect does not have this meaning in English. And "all of a sudden" is not quite valid in this context. Contrast

    1. "I hadn't time to book a room; so I (just) left then and there" (affective statement) or "~ so I left immediately" (dispassionate statement). (Other possibilities are "so I left right away" or "so I left straightaway" ('straightaway' is written without a space).)

    2. "I hadn't time to book a room because I (had) left suddenly, left in haste." In this case, the place you "left" or "had left" is different from the lodging.

    "All of a sudden" strongly connotes "unexpected, surprising", and therefore "something happens to me" or "I witness something" as well. Therefore, it usually does not make sense in reference to a deliberate act on the speaker's part. For example:

    a. All of a sudden, you/he/she/they left.
    b. All of a sudden, I felt a chill, felt scared, heard a bang.
    c. All of a sudden, there was a bang.

    And in this case, never mind whether speaker or someone else. Since not having time to book a room would give a ready explanation for leaving immediately, it also wouldn't be appropriate to say, "He hadn't . . . . , so he left all of a sudden".
     
  8. maxiogee Senior Member

    imithe
    Whoa!
    You have to check that the event is actually in the past.

    John: Hiya Jim, I'm at the airport on my way to New York and I need a favour from you....
    Jim: Sure John, what can I do for you?
    John: I need you to book me a hotel near the conference centre, I haven't had time to book a room :tick: . I had to leave all of a sudden.
    Jim: Sure thing John, leave it to me.
     
  9. Spaniard Senior Member

    Spain - spanish
    Thank you very much for your quick answers.
     
  10. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Urbana-Champaign, IL
    Am. English, Pal. Arabic (See profile)
    Good point. That's why context is important. I was in fact considering the two sentences referring to two completed events in the past, one of which caused the other - as in, "I didn't have time to book a room; therefore, I had to leave all of a sudden." In that case, the present perfect would not be correct.
     
  11. DaleC Senior Member

    I've had second thoughts about Spaniard's question. I now think he/she has stumbled onto something important. And very difficult: something without a ready explanation. Although Spaniard's use of 'have' is probably still incorrect, it seems to be incorrect for a different reason than I gave.

    I may have supposed incorrectly what Spaniard meant to say. I supposed Spaniard meant to refer to a past act without present relevance. It now occurs to me that Spaniard may actually have meant to refer to a past act with present relevance. The fascinating thing is that in this case, the native speaker wouldn't use the "perfect auxiliary", 'have', to do so.

    Prologue: the discussion is complicated by the fact that there are many possibilities for where person A has left. The most obvious would be the hotel where they couldn't book a room.

    The following exchange would be totally in order:

    A: I've [I have] left (there). -- uses the perfect
    B: Why did you leave? -- uses the simple past
    A: Because I couldn't book a room. -- uses the simple past

    But this combination is hard to accept:

    A: I've left because I couldn't book a room.

    When I think about it, it would seem that we should be saying such things in English, but my opinion is that we don't. Yet I can't say for sure, nor with much detail, WHY this sentence is less than 100 percent valid.

    It somehow depends on the specific events or actions under discussion. I readily accept the present perfect in the following similar sentence:

    A: I've quit the teaching profession because I was denied a promotion last season.

    The difference in the acceptability of the explicit reference to present relevance seems to be due to the permanence and magnitude of the present relevance (abandon a career versus depart from some location).

    I'd like to hear the thoughts of others.
     

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