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As far as I understand, along came is used when one needs to describe an event of less importance.

However, can I use this phrase with a positive connotation?

Example:

I want to state that it is only after Mr.Abe's arrival, that our company's profits soared and made heads turn in the international market. I am highlighting his achievements. So I have written:

Along came Mr.Abe to our company, and the rest is history!

Have I written it right or do I need to re-phrase it?

3 Answers 3

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I don't think it refers to an event of "less importance", at all. Read this poem and you will see it is the turning point of the story.

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey;
Along came a spider
Who sat down beside her
And frightened Miss Muffet away.

In that example, the event is not positive either, so I don't believe that is the connotation you get from the phrase. It can go either way, making the direct answer to your question a 'no'.
Personally, I like the feel of "Along came Mr.Abe, and the rest is history!". I believe it does sound positive, but the extra connotation from phrasing it that way is that the event was a turning point somehow, that the mere presence of the spider or of Mr.Abe was significant enough to turn events. Including "to our company" in the sentence feels a little forced to me; since it is a poetic phrase it seems susceptible to alterations.

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    Nice! +1 for emphasizing its use to signal turning points, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, but hardly ever of less importance.
    – Papa Poule
    Dec 13, 2015 at 17:33
  • It does entirely depend on the context - mainly because of the "the rest is history" phrase. It assumes that the listener/reader would already know something about that history, good or bad. You could use the same wording if Mr. Abe had famously caused the company to crash and burn, and it would mean the exact opposite. Dec 13, 2015 at 20:21
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To readers of the Boomer generation the phrase will suggest a humorous (but not at all disrespectful) characterization of Mr. Abe as a bigger-than-life hero.

Along Came Jones was a comic song by Lieber & Stoller, originally recorded by the Coasters in 1959 and covered with even more success by Ray Stevens in 1969. It's a parody of classic Western melodramas: the cowboy hero Jones repeatedly appears at the last minute to avert a deadly threat to the heroine Sweet Sue.

I plopped down in my easy chair and turned on Channel Two
A bad gunslinger called Salty Sam was chasin' poor Sweet Sue
He trapped her in the old sawmill and said with an evil laugh
"If you don't give me the deed to your ranch I'll saw you all in half!"
And then he grabbed her (and then?)
He tied her up (and then?)
He turned on the bandsaw (and then, and then?)

And then along came Jones
Tall, thin Jones
Slow-walkin' Jones
Slow-talkin' Jones
Along came long, lean, lanky Jones

Commercial came on, so I got up to get myself a snack
You should've seen what was goin' on by the time that I got back
Down in the old abandoned mine, Sweet Sue was a-havin' fits
That villain said, "give me the deed to your ranch or I'll blow you all to bits!"
And then he grabbed her (and then?)
He tied her up (and then?)
He lit the fuse to the dynamite (and then, and then?)

And then along came Jones
Tall, thin Jones
Slow-walkin' Jones
Slow-talkin' Jones
Along came long, lean, lanky Jones

I got so bugged I turned it off and turned on another show
But there was the same old shoot-'em-up and the same old rodeo
Salty Sam was tryin' to stuff Sweet Sue in a burlap sack, he said
"If you don't give me the deed to your ranch, I'm gonna throw you on the railroad tracks!"
And then he grabbed her (and then?)
He tied her up (and then?)
He threw her on the railroad tracks (and then?)
A train started comin' (and then, and then?)

And then along came Jones
Tall, thin Jones
Slow-walkin' Jones
Slow-talkin' Jones
Along came long, lean, lanky Jones
Along came long, lean, lanky Jones

The song was "inspired" by a 1945 comic movie of the same name in which Gary Cooper affectionately mocked his own traditional "strong and silent" persona.

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    "Along Came Jones" was the first song I thought of as an example of positive coming along. There's also "Along Comes Mary" (1966) by the Association: "Every time I think that I'm the only one who's lonely/Someone calls on me/And every now and then I spend my time at rhyme and verse/And curse those faults in me/And then along comes Mary/And does she want to give me kicks, and be my steady chick/And give me pick of memories/Or maybe rather gather tales from the falls and tribulations/No one ever sees..." According to Wikipedia, the eponymous Mary is marijuana.
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 13, 2015 at 17:19
  • And let's not forget Along Comes Mary
    – Hot Licks
    Dec 13, 2015 at 20:11
  • @SvenYargs Sigh. I had done my best to forget the Association. Dec 13, 2015 at 20:16
  • "Who's tripping down the streets of the city—smiling at everybody she sees?"
    – Sven Yargs
    Dec 13, 2015 at 21:16
  • @SvenYargs Not me! Hard to believe those guys inhabited the same universe as the Stones and the Doors and the Airplane and Hendrix and ... Dec 13, 2015 at 21:45
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With a little more context and the addition of a word or two, your sentence could be quite apt, in light of Mr. Abe's positive contribution to your company. For example, if you "set up" the sentence with something like

Prior to a certain valuable employee coming on board our struggling company, profits were down and we were on the brink of financial disaster. And then along came Mr. Abe, and, well, the rest is history!

Given the extra context, and given your holding of the identity of that "certain valuable employee" in abeyance, you build up a little suspense, which makes adding the words and then and well more in keeping with Mr. Abe's effect on the good fortunes of the company.

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