ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Paraprosdokian?

Updated on December 27, 2010

Paraprosdokians

This funny sounding word is a figure of speech and a literary device used by many humourists. Translates loosely to ‘unexpected’. If the beginning of a sentence causes the reader or listener to expect something and the end comes as a surprise, it is an illustration of paraprosdokian.

"She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say when." P. G. Wodehouse
"She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say when." P. G. Wodehouse

Statesmen have indulged too:
If you are going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

And it is a favourite device of  humourists or writers who wish to add humour or drama to their lines and our lives.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my father, not screaming and terrified like his passengers. - Bob Monkhouse

Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. - Groucho Marx

One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing. – Oscar Wilde

I remember one from a parody:
Mary had a little lamb while I had Irish stew.

Howlers - classroom paraprosdokians

Ignorant students create unintentional paraproskodians answering test papers, and they blight or light the correcting teacher’s life. That always depends upon the teacher’s sense of humour or lack of it. Also called ‘howlers.’
For example:

1. Shakespeare wrote many tragedies, comedies, and errors.


2. The Odyssey was not written by Homer but by another man with the same name.


3. Julius Caesar, when he was stabbed by his dear friend, said, “Tee hee, Brutus.”


4. Abraham Lincoln was
America’s greatest Precedent.

5. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic.

And anybody who has received forwarded emails would have read the paraprosdokian produced by the students of a first grade teacher. She gave them the first parts of proverbs and asked them to complete them. That exercise produced gems like: Where there’s smoke, there’s pollution and Two’s company, three’s the Musketeers.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      6 years ago from Chennai

      Haha, it does sound like some such animal, 2uesday! Thanks for the kind words. :)

    • 2uesday profile image

      2uesday 

      6 years ago

      I thought it sounded like a dinosaur, but now I know I was wrong. It is - well you explained it well in this article.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      6 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, Htodd! :)

    • htodd profile image

      htodd 

      6 years ago from United States

      Great post...Thanks

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      6 years ago from Chennai

      Aw, thank you, Maralexa! :)

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 

      6 years ago from Vancouver, Canada and San Jose del Cabo, Mexico

      Your hub is pure delight! Thanks so much.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      LOL! Thanks for these additions, Zabbella, and for making me laugh! :D

    • Zabbella profile image

      Zabbella 

      7 years ago from NJ-USA

      Good Hub!

      I read these somewhere.....

      1__"I did not say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you."

      2___"Hurting you would be the last thing I would do...but it's still on my list."

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Long time, Frank! :))))

      Thanks, and wish you the best year too! :)

    • MrMarmalade profile image

      MrMarmalade 

      7 years ago from Sydney

      Hi Kenny,

      I have never heard that word either,

      I am going to learn about.

      Have the best year ever in 2011

      Frank

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Of course, Eldira! Doesn't matter, knowing the name is only to impress friends. :D

    • Edlira profile image

      Edlira 

      7 years ago

      Kenny, as long as we use them right, the name shouldn't matter much... right ;-)....most times, anyway :-)?

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      LOL! Thanks for that line. I am also a member of the 'Used Many Times without Knowing the Name' Club. :D

    • Edlira profile image

      Edlira 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for teaching me a new word, Kenny :-). Had actually many times ecountered it without knowing the name :-). Am sharing a favourite of mine: "If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong"..lol

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Thanks, Sameer, will do! :)

    • sameerk profile image

      sameerk 

      7 years ago from India

      nice one , keep going

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, and Happy New Year, Sligobay! :))

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 

      7 years ago from east of the equator

      Paraprosdokian is a mouthful but laughter is a bellyful with your delicious presentation.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      I used to pronounce it 'para-pros-KODIAN,' haha! :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      A real mouhtful andI never get that. I have a job with the 'I' hahaha.

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Caesar was probably tickled to death! :D

      Thanks, VioletSun! :)

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      7 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      I learned a new word tonight, thanks!

      This paraprosdokian had me chuckling, tee-hee: :)

      "Julius Caesar, when he was stabbed by his dear friend, said, “Tee hee, Brutus.”

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, dear friends!

      Happy New Year, Earth Angel! :)

      I didn't know for ages, either, Nellie Anna! :D

      I'm delighted that you got your laughs, Toknowinfo! Maybe it's a good thing to pray for: Give us this day our daily laugh! XD

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 

      7 years ago

      Loved this hub! Voted up and funny. And I really needed to laugh today. Great new word that I won't remember so I will bookmark this. Your examples are great and made this for an easy read. I love learning new things. Thanks for sharing.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 

      7 years ago from TEXAS

      I love it! The word is valuable and the examples, wonderful. I'm familiar with them, just didn't know what to call them! Thanks, Kenny!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      7 years ago

      GREAT new word Kenny!!

      I love the quotes as well - especially Churchill's!

      Happy New Year Dear Soul!

      Blessings always, EarthAngel!

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      I have problems too with that, Feline! :D

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      7 years ago

      Now I have to learn how to pronounce it! :)

    • Kenny Wordsmith profile imageAUTHOR

      Ashok Rajagopalan 

      7 years ago from Chennai

      Thank you, SunSeven! Yes, they do use this profusely, don't they? :)

    • SunSeven profile image

      SunSeven 

      7 years ago from Singapore / India

      A new word learnt today!. Thanks Ashok.

      I have seen this used to great effect in some Malayalam and Tamil movies.

      Best Regards

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)