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Fun with Words…Paraprosdokian

flickr/Phillip Stearns

Want to have some fun?  Use some Paraprosdokian sentences when speaking.

Say what?

A friend of mine sent me an email that said here’s a word he’d, and me for that matter, had never heard of.  And the word is Paraprosdokian!

Yeah, that’s what I said.  Excuse me?  So, I looked it up and turns out it’s fun.  A paraprosdokian (play /pærəprɒsˈdoʊkiən/) 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, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a form of syllepsis.

Got it?  Okay, here’s the fun part.  The following are paraprosdokian sentences.  Enjoy!

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.

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

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.

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

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

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

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

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.

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