All of the sudden

The idiomatically correct phrase is “all of a sudden,” not “all of the sudden” or (even worse) “all the sudden.” I’m dismayed by the frequency with which journalists and other professional writers make this embarrassing mistake. Though the error seems to occur most often on the sports page, that does not make it any the less objectionable. No competent editor would allow the phrase to appear in print or online.

What is even more offensive is that some writers wrongly impute the error to others, claiming that a speaker said “all of the sudden” when he or she actually said “all of a sudden.” It is one thing to humiliate oneself by using a non-standard expression; it is quite another thing to demean an innocent third party by falsely ascribing to him or her the offending expression.



Filed under Grammar and Usage Errors

2 responses to “All of the sudden

  1. Jon

    Dear Grumpmeister,
    Could you expound on any thoughts you have about national network news hosts and reporters who have speech impediments?
    Thank you!

    • I don’t watch the network news shows, so I haven’t run into this issue, but I’d be reluctant to complain about a newscaster’s speech impediment. Don’t you have to admire anyone who has achieved success in TV news despite such a disability? The only big name I can think of in this category is Tom Brokaw, who managed to do pretty well for himself notwithstanding his inability to pronounce the letter L.

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