Paraprosdokian

September 28, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Paraprosdokian sentences—my literary lesson for the week. (Thanks to Dad for forwarding this email, which is making the rounds.)

A paraprosdokian (from Greek meaning “beyond expectation”) 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 the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.

  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  • Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • War does not determine who is right — only who is left.
  • 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.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  • I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.
  • A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.
  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says “If an emergency, notify:” I write “Doctor.”
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  • Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
  • I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
  • When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
  • A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are running after it as when you are in it.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

 


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