How can I express something bad is going to happen in a better way. Something along the lines of An ominous chain of events is starting to ensue

  • Can you give an example? What kind of word do you want? Noun? (premonition) Verb? (foreshadow) Adjective? (foreboding) – Tony Sep 30 '16 at 5:30
  • (I just want to clarify that the above comment isn't providing answers, only examples. I think out of all of them, only "premonition" the dark connotation you're looking for) – Tony Sep 30 '16 at 5:31
  • Taking premonition as an example, what's the right way to use this word in a sentence that conveys the same meaning as 'something bad is going to happen' – ichigo gyuunyuu Sep 30 '16 at 5:35
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    "Walking along the road, Fred suddenly had a premonition of great calamity". – Tony Sep 30 '16 at 5:36
  • Or something like 'The terrible flash of lightning indicates... " – ichigo gyuunyuu Sep 30 '16 at 5:41

Here are some suggestions for informal asides:

  • "I have a bad feeling about this..."
  • "Nothing good can come of this."
  • "The s**t's about to hit the fan." (colloquial, and offensive to some)
  • "You think this is bad, wait 'til you see what's about to happen." (when the situation is already discernably "bad")
  • "Well, that's thrown a spanner in the works." (BritE, and said after observing the precipitating event)
  • "Uh-oh."

If you're asking about how to notify a superior of an impending system failure or political snafu, you could try:

  • "(Sir/Mr...insert title here), there's no good way to say this, but... [brief statement of the impending consequences of the failure]. But I think I have a way to (avert/mitigate/contain the damage)/(correct the problem)." (Explanation of what happened to follow upon request.) Do your best to bring at least one proposed solution when reporting the problem, and ideally bring a small party of experts with you.

I had to read quite a bit into your question; I trust some of this will be helpful.

  • I like the third one best. – Mick Sep 30 '16 at 5:51
  • I wanted an expression for writing and not for speaking, but these points are certainly going to come in handy in the future. Thanks :) – ichigo gyuunyuu Sep 30 '16 at 5:57
  • @MickSharpe I eliminate any scatological reference by changing that to, "The hype has hit the fan". – Peter Point Sep 30 '16 at 5:59
  • @PeterPoint Your intentions are noble. In my answer, I was aiming for journalistic accuracy, and it seems I hit it. – jaxter Sep 30 '16 at 6:15

"something bad is going to happen"


There was a sense of foreboding.


For example, before he was assassinated, Martin Luther King, Jr., felt a sense of foreboding.

  • @aperente001 I believe your suggestion would work well in a literary function, such as a novel. I believe the OP is looking for how to convey a message to someone else, rather than a mood to an audience/a reader. – jaxter Sep 30 '16 at 6:18
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    @jaxter - How did you get this? "I wanted an expression for writing and not for speaking." – aparente001 Sep 30 '16 at 6:59

Portentous: Portentous events, statements, or signs...[that] show that something unpleasant is very likely to happen. (Cambridge Dictionary)

(Word/sentence-in-context) The report contains numerous portentous references to a future environmental catastrophe. (Cambridge Dictionary)

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