Paraprosdokians ~~ Fossils, Crystals, Igneous Rocks, or a Linguistic Term?
Paleolithic Fossil, a Paraprosdokian?
Intellectual Satire or Educational Parody
Public Disclaimer: Those of you who do not love words and language, and who have little sense of humor might want to stop reading, NOW. Thank you for your consideration. :)
Everyone loves studying grammar. Grammar is delightful and I am sure you have wonderful memories of the many teachers who taught you the rules of grammar and introduced you to the rules necessary for literary compositions Those were my favorite teachers. :) One of the things I don’t remember studying is Paraprosdokians. Why don’t we tackle them together?
Paraprosdokians are interesting figures of speech where the second half of the sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected and this often leads the listener to reinterpret the first half of the sentence. Paraprosdokians can also play on the double meaning (or as the French would say, double entendre) of a particular word. They are frequently used in conversation or written dialogue to create a humorous or dramatic effect and are often used by comedians and satirists.
Wolfranite Crystals, Paraprosdokians?
Etymology - One of my Favorite, Favorite Things!
Let’s start with one of my favorite things, etymology. According to Wikipedia, "Paraprosdokian" comes from the Greek word "παρά," which means "against" and another Greek word "προσδοκία," which means "expectation." So a paraprosdokian is a sentence where the second half or part of a sentence “works against expectation” or contradicts the expectations set up in the first half.
Interestingly, some scholars believe the word is a late 20th century neologism (a newly coined word, expression). But apparently the word was in use in Greece in the first and second centuries with the same meaning we use today.
We all see, hear, and use these types of sentences on a regular basis; we probably are just not sure what to call them. Let’s study this figure of speech and examine a few together. Maybe later you will want to post your favorite paraprosdokian in the comments section. Maybe you heard one recently; maybe you make them up yourself! This is kind of like a participatory HP game! :)
Rain Forest Botanical, a Paraprosdokian?
Three Commonly Used Paraprosdokians
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal from many is research.
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
I didn't say it was your fault; I just said I was blaming you.
Terrestrial Bacteria, Paraprosdokians?
Another Three Paraprosdokians
You do not need a parachute to skydive;you only need a parachute to skydive twice.
I used to be indecisive; now I am not so sure.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it's still on my list.
Variegated Granite, a Paraprosdokian?
Another Three Paraprosdokians
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian, any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
They begin the evening news with 'Good Evening,' then proceed to tell you why it isn't.
To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
Rain Forest Spore, a Paraprosdokian?
Three Celebrity Paraprosdokians
You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they have tried everything else." Winston Churchill
I sleep eight hours a day, and at least ten at night." Bill Hicks
"She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say 'when'." P. G. Wodehouse
Linguistic Device, Figure of Speech, Paraprosdokian? Why, yes!
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