I’m a language geek, which is why these kinds of word plays appeal to me so.  My brother forwarded the following to me in an email (my siblings are all language geeks, too) and I loved it so much I thought I’d post it here.

From the email: 

What in the world is a paraprosdokian? you ask.  Well.  It’s “a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.” 

For instance, “Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a paraprosdokian.

OK, so now enjoy these:

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

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

3. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

4. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

5. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

6. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

7. Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.

8. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember most people use water.

And then, because eight is simply not enough, I found some additional paraprosdokians in a Wikipedia article.  Here are some of those:

  • “If I am reading this graph correctly — I’d be very surprised.” —Stephen Colbert
  • “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” —Dorothy Parker
  • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx
  • “I like going to the park and watching the children run around because they don’t know I’m using blanks.” —Emo Philips
  • “If I could just say a few words…I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson
  • “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” —Mitch Hedberg

And here are two more I just found here:

  • “I don’t mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that’s how it comes out.” — Bill Hicks
  • “It’s too bad that whole families have to be torn apart by something as simple as wild dogs.” — Jack Handey

Enough!!  I dare you to Google paraprosdokians yourself…I just dare you.

copyright Dia Osborn 2011

5 responses

  1. You have just made my day, Dia. 🙂 Seriously. First by teaching me a new word and second by making me laugh. I am now going to search “paraprosdokians” (what a mouthful and my fingers hurt from typing) on (Ha!)

  2. How fun! Reminds me of a word my friend used to describe me but then I promptly forgot the word. It was flattering…she was telling me that I am “able to discuss a wide variety of topics.” Problem is, I can’t remember what I’m talking about!

    Now, off to find out how to pronounce that mouthful!

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