Paraprosdokian? What is that?

Paraprosdokian sentences? 

A paraprosdokian  is a figure of speech where the latter part of a sentence or phrase is  surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe  or reinterpret the first part.

It is mainly used for humorous or dramatic  effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax.

Here are a few paraprosdokian

If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.

Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and
beat you with experience.

Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear
bright until you hear them speak.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many
is research.

Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the
cheese.

Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening”, and then
proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a
train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.

Famous people use or used paraprosdokians too.

He was at his best when the going was good.” —Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor

“If I could say a few words, I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson

“If I am reading this graph correctly — I’d be very surprised.” —Stephen Colbert

“She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say ‘when’.” —P.G. Wodehouse

“If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” —Dorothy Parker

“I sleep eight hours a day and at least ten at night.” — Bill Hicks

“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx

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5 responses to “Paraprosdokian? What is that?

  1. Oscar Wilde was it: I can resist everything except temptation.

  2. Never knew that’s what they were called. One of my favorite comedians was Mitch Hedberg and much of his act was composed of paraprosdokianisms (if I understand them correctly). Some of the favorites that I can think of right now are, “I’m against picketing, but I don’t know how to show it.” and “I walked into target, but I missed.”

  3. wordsbybob

    CBECK Thanks for your comments. I still hear old Mitch Hedberg routines on XM radio. I liked him, and enjoy Steven Wright as well. Also, I like your blog. You seem to share my love of words. I need to go to it and read more after I get my work down.
    Where are you located?

  4. I do share your love for words, though you will notice (if you read much on my blog) that I tend to butcher them often. I’m located in Waco, Tx; which is home to the Dr. Pepper Museum and a murder of crows that will dwarf any other in existence. 🙂

  5. wordsbybob

    cbeck A Dr. Pepper Museum. Wow. I will have to tell my buddy who writes a newpaper trivia column about that.