(the) next thing (one) knows

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(the) next thing (one) knows

All of a sudden; out of nowhere; without warning. I was standing in line, minding my own business, when the next thing I know, a gunman runs into the bank and starts screaming at us to get on the ground! Tammy had only been on a few dates with Mark, but this one had been going smoothly. Next thing she knew, he got on one knee and proposed to her.
See also: know, next, thing
References in periodicals archive ?
The next thing he knew, he was under water before surfacing in a sea of burning fuel and floating corpses.
Eichner said the next thing he knew, an elderly man was in his face shouting: ``You saw my space, and you're going to pay for it dearly.
At that rate of speed I'd have to assume the plane either flipped over and nose-dived in, or he just went into a gradual bank and without realizing had a fast descent and next thing he knew he was right on top of the water and there was nothing he could do,'' Silva said.
The next thing he knew, Castro said, he was awakened by his mother screaming about a fire.
Like Cube, Ice-T was discovered by a Hollywood power broker in the early '90s and, next thing he knew, he was a movie star, beginning with his role in ``New Jack City.