Posted by R. Berg on December 11, 2003
In Reply to: Hmmm posted by Lotg on December 10, 2003
: : : : : : All of a sudden, or All of the sudden?
: : : : : : I get what it means but don't you think it sounds stupid if you really think about it? All of a sudden what? Obviously it means a sudden moment in time but there is no such thing as "a sudden"
: : : : : : I just thought I would see what you guys have to think about this, thanks. ;)
: : : : : "All of a sudden" sounds natural to me, but "All at once", which means the same thing, sounded awkward to me the first time I heard it. I'll have to vote Not Stupid on "All of a sudden"!
: : : : "Sudden" was used as a noun in the 16th and 17th centuries, now marked obsolete in the Oxford English Dictionary. Definition: "A sudden need, danger, or the like; an emergency." Earliest quotation for this sense: "Howe redye they be in matters of dowbte, howe constant in the Sodeyne of dayngers" .
: : :
: : : Is that a noun? It sounds like an adjective. ie. sudden danger (is describing the nature of the danger, which is sudden), even 'the sodeyne of dayngers', although I admit to treading on dangerous and unknown ground on this one, sounds like it's again describing the type of 'dayngers'. I don't know, I'm just asking. Still, I've never thought about it before, but 'sudden' is a damn good word isn't it??? It implies something far more abrupt than say immediate, or even urgent.
: : If you're impressed by 'sudden' then try 'catastrophic': it'll blow your mind.
"Sudden" is a real noun, if an obsolete one save for its use in "all of a sudden." You don't think the OED would get something like that wrong, do you?