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Some Paraprosdokians

January 24, 2011 - Al Stephenson
Some what? I must admit that I was not familiar with the term until my friend sent me a list of them. For those of you who are still in the dark let me define the term. A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in which 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 frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

Despite the overuse of the word or in that explanation, the list was interesting. Therefore I am going to give you a few of my favorites.

1) Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. I'm guessing a person came to mind as you read this one. We all know of the guy that you simply cannot win an argument with, because that person will never admit to being wrong. You can show them proof that they are incorrect and it will do no good.

2) If I agreed with you we'd both be wrong. Save that one for the idiot - it might just cause them to pause.

3) The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list. I pictured a couple breaking up when I read the first part of this one. Now I'm not so sure who or what I envision.

4) Evening new is where they begin with "Good Evening" and then proceed to tell you why it isn't. This one is certainly true. Bad events make for better news than good things.

5) A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don't need it. True also, but then again a bank is a place that will keep the vault open and chain the pens to the counter!

6) Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet? Part of our human failings I guess.

7) A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory. Let's see, what was I just thinking about...

The view from my seat suggests that many of these paraprosdokians are funny. Some are sad, but true. All are at the very least thought provoking. I hope you enjoyed them. Let me leave you with one more.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Admit it. You have, at least once in your life, used your fist on one of them to get the change you had coming!


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