Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do you use paraprosdokians?

In a recent blog, I asked people to send in unusual or quaint words that were often now seen as obsolete. In two separate replies, I was given the word, paraprosdokian. Now unlike me, I’m sure you know what a paraprosdokian is? Well you should, as most of us trend to use them from time to time, even if we don’t know their name.
According to Wickipedia, A paraprosdokian (from Greek "παρα-", meaning "beyond" and "προσδοκία", meaning "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 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 also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a syllepsis.
So now you know what a paraprosdokian is, I will give you a couple of classic examples:
Ø Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
Ø I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
Ø Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
Ø The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
Ø Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
Ø The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Well, now that you know what a paraprosdokian is, what are some of your favourites? Please?

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