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Chinese Grammar: Expressing "all at once" with 一下子
一下子 (yīxiàzi) can be used as an adverb, meaning "all at once." Because it inherently encompasses a sense of "completion," it's typically going to be followed by a 了 (le) later in the sentence.
Used as "All at Once"
一下子 (yīxiàzi) is a very informal expression to describe how fast things happened. It usually touches upon sudden or severe changes in a very short amount of time. Although 一下子 (yīxiàzi) is already quite informal, in colloquial Chinese 一下 (yīxià) can also be used to express the same thing.
Structure: Subj. + 一下子 + Predicate + 了
天气一下子变冷了。(tiānqì yīxiàzi biàn lěng le) = The weather suddenly got cold.
他一下子吃了三碗米饭。(tā yīxiàzi chī le sān wǎn mǐfàn) = He ate three bowls of rice all at once.
她下楼的时候一下子摔倒了。(tā xiàlóu de shíhou yīxiàzi shuāidǎo le) = As she went down the stairs, she suddenly fell.
我们说话的时候,她 一下子哭了。(wǒmen shuōhuà de shíhou, tā yīxiàzi kū le) = She burst into tears when we were talking.
她上个月一下子瘦了很多。(tā shàng gè yuè yīxiàzi shòu le hěn duō) = Last month, she lost a lot of weight all at once.
Used as "Quickly" and "Naturally"
一下子 (yīxiàzi), followed with 就 (jiù), usually implies that things happened very quickly, naturally, and easily. Again, 一下 (yīxià) can also be used instead of 一下子 (yīxiàzi).
Structure: Subj. + 一下子 + 就 + Predicate + 了
老师进来以后,大家一下子就安静了。(lǎoshī jìnlái yǐhòu, dàjiā yīxiàzi jiù ānjìng le) = Everyone became silent after the teacher came in.
听他说完,我一下子就明白了。(tīng tā shuō wán, wǒ yīxiàzi jiù míngbai le) = After hearing him out, I understood everything all at once.
他是最高的,我一下子就看到他了。(tā shì zuì gāo de, wǒ yīxiàzi jiù kàndào tā le) = He is the tallest. I spotted him right away.
拍完那部电影,他一下子就出名了。(pāi wán nà bù diànyǐng, tā yīxiàzi jiù chūmíng le) = He became very famous soon after that movie came out.
看到那张照片,我一下子就想起来了。(kàndào nà zhāng zhàopiàn, wǒ yīxiàzi jiù xiǎng qǐlái le) = It all came back to me when I saw that picture.
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