Paraprosdokians, anyone?

September 26, 2010 | By | 2 Replies More

I hadn’t heard of the term “paraprosdokians” until I visited englishforums.com.   The definition:  “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 re-frame or re-interpret the first part.”   Englishforums.com offers 30 paraprosdokians, including these:

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

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

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America ?

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

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

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Category: Communication, Language, Whimsy

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Tony Coyle says:

    I hadn't encountered the term before, although I've seen (and used) many examples.

    I used to call these Invert Oxymorons 😀

    Having a proper name to describe them is so cool! I love etymology!

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    My favorite from "The Hitchhikers Guide":

    What's so bad about being drunk? Ask a glass of water.

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