Saturday, April 10, 2010


That title, what a mouthful, huh? Try saying it three times fast. Heck, try saying it one time slowly. A paraprosdokian is a figure of speech in the form of a two-part sentence or phrase in which the second part appears in a light unexpected compared to the first part. It causes the listener to reinterpret the meaning or intent of the first part. This device can be used for humorous, satiric, or dramatic effect. Today I share some examples of classic paraprosdokians so that you might amuse and bewilder your friends and colleagues with your newfound supercilious and insipid repartee. Oh, how witty and urbane you will appear.
  • "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.", Will Rogers
  • "She got her good looks from her father, he's a plastic surgeon.", Groucho Marx
  • "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I don't know.", Groucho Marx
  • "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.", Groucho Marx
  • "I want to die like my father, quietly, in his sleep - not screaming and terrified like his passengers.", Bob Monkhouse
  • "If I am reading this graph correctly, I would be very surprised.", Stephen Colbert
  • "If all the girls at Vassar were laid end to end, I wouldn't be very surprised.", Dorothy Parker
  • "It's too bad that whole families have to be torn apart by something a simple as wild dogs.", Jack Handey
  • "The car stopped on a dime, which unfortunately was in a pedestrian's pocket.", unknown
  • "Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.", Groucho Marx