Posts Tagged ‘Paraprosdokian’


April 1, 2012

There are many web-sites which are informative and educational. But only some of them are intelligent and a few of these are required reading and a very,very few of them are a just a delight to read.

Dr. Goodwood’s language blog is one of them.

And the story of paraprosdokians is something I learned today:

Paraprosdokian is not an Armenian writer or football coach but a figure of speech characterized by an abrupt change of direction at the end. It is a phrase that intentionally leads us down the garden path, that misleads us into thinking one way, then suddenly ending on an unexpected twist. Stand-up comedians who like one-liners use lots of them because the setup and punchline are all in a single line.

Here are some examples: …

  • There but for the grace of God goes God. —Sir Winston Churchill, a comment on Sir Stafford Cripps, British socialist philosopher
  • Two wrongs don’t make a right—but three lefts do.
  • Now, you take my wife . . . PLEASE! —Henny Youngman
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you we’d both be wrong.
  • War does not determine who is right—only who is left. 
  • The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • ……..
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. —Oscar Wilde
And this one applies perfectly to me: You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

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