all at once/all of a sudden

Discussion in 'English Only' started by sevengem, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. sevengem

    sevengem Senior Member

    Is there any difference between the two phrases?

    In the exam, there is a question like this:

    Bobby thought hard about what to buy for his mother as a christmas gift. _________, his eye caught something shining.

    A. To his surprise B. All at once C. In the end D. All of a sudden

    The answer is B, but I can't figure out why. Are B and D mean the same? Please help! Thanks!
  2. suzi br

    suzi br Senior Member

    English / England
    I agree with you. I cannot see much difference between B and D.

    This sometimes happens with class tests. A and C certainly do not work, but there is no obvious reason why B is favoured over D.
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    I wondered whether perhaps 'all of a sudden' was used more for unfortunate events, but checking a corpus I found that was not true. So I can't see any difference either.
  4. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    To me, there is a problem with the context.

    I might be very surprised if I was thinking hard and my view changed. :eek: I pick A.

    Bobby was looking around the store for something to buy for his mother as a Christmas gift. Now, I pick B and D equally.

    Bobby was shopping for something rustic (not shiny) to buy for his mother as a Christmas gift. But, in the end, his eye caught something shining. :)

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