suddenly, all of a sudden and out of the blue

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mrxkms, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. mrxkms Senior Member

    Arabic-English
    Is there a difference between suddenly, all of a sudden and out of the blue ?
     
  2. teksch Senior Member

    San Diego, California
    English - American
    Suddenly and all of a sudden means that something happened in a hurry. Out of the blue means that something unexpected happened. "Suddenly, and I mean all of a sudden, I understood that the airplane falling from the sky might hit me - talk about something coming from out of the blue."
     
  3. teksch Senior Member

    San Diego, California
    English - American
    Suddenly has to do with time and out of the blue has to do with an unexpected event.
     
  4. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Can you give us a context, mrxkms?
     
  5. Æsop Senior Member

    Suburb of Washington, D.C.
    English--American (upstate NY)
    "out of the blue" is a reference to "a bolt from the blue," that is, a thunderbolt (lightning strike) when there are no clouds and the sky is blue. That's impossible, so a literal "bolt from the blue" would be entirely unexpected, a complete surprise. "Suddenly" and "all of a sudden" also describe an action or development that is unexpected; it happens so abruptly or quickly that observers "don't see it coming," as opposed to a gradual change whose outcome can be predicted and anticipated. "out of the blue" is a metaphor and has a more restricted use than the adverb "suddenly" and the adverbial phrase "all of a sudden." For instance, one can say, "Suddenly, the road veered to the right," or "All of a sudden, the road turned right," but it would not be appropriate to replace either of the "sudden" formation with "out of the blue."
     

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