All of a Sudden vs All of the Sudden? Which is Correct?

When describing something that happens quickly and in an instant, it can be hard to determine what phrase you should use. While you could just use the word suddenly, using an idiom can make your statement more interesting and exciting.

When it comes to a phrase using sudden, is it proper to use all of the sudden or all of a sudden? We all use this phrase frequently, but everyone seems to say it differently. It is considered proper to use the phrase all of a sudden.

All of a Sudden

“All of a sudden” is the proper way to say the popular statement. Like the word suddenly, it works as an adverb in a sentence. The phrase is usually used when something happened without warning or unexpectedly.

As an adverb phrase, all of a sudden is used to modify verbs in a sentence. You will find that most writers have a pet peeve about people using this phrase when something doesn’t actually happen suddenly.

I was getting the chickens in their coop for the night, when all of a sudden, a wolf howled in the yard.

All of a sudden, an owl swooped down out of nowhere right next to my head.

It seems unreal, but all of a sudden, the sky just turned pitch black, and rain started to pour down.

He was just driving down the road when his tire popped all of a sudden.

All of the Sudden

“All of the sudden” is just an incorrect version of the phrase. You will very rarely see this version of the phrase used, but it does happen as a mix-up.

Remembering the Difference

The easiest way to remember which phrase is correct is to think of the words involved. All of a sudden comes first alphabetically. A comes before The, so just remember that the first alphabetical choice is the proper choice for the phrase.


Phrases like all of a sudden are commonly mixed up with other versions of the phrase. Because of this, it can be tricky to make sure you are using the right phrase in your writing or in your speech.

All of a sudden is the proper version of the phrase and you can easily remember it because this phrase comes first alphabetically. If you remember that, you won’t ever get the phrase mixed up again.