Discussion in 'English Only' started by mrxkms, Mar 1, 2009.
Is there a difference between suddenly, all of a sudden and out of the blue ?
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."
Suddenly has to do with time and out of the blue has to do with an unexpected event.
Can you give us a context, mrxkms?
"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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