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trlists

Joined: September 7, 2005  (email not validated)
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I think the sentence would be odd without the phrase "all of a sudden". To me the oddness comes from two things:
(1) Grammatical style: the expletive construction "there was" makes the sentence unnecessarily wordy. The subject of the sentence follows the verb, and there is no reason to shift emphasis away from the subject.
(2) semantic: bottles don't break themselves. In M56's other examples the subject is doing the action expressed by the verb. I think the following is OK. What do you think?
"all of a sudden, a bottle was being broken (by Bob) on the table."
or
"All of a sudden. Bob was breaking a bottle on the table."

trlists September 7, 2005, 6:04pm

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