Paraprosdokian: When The Surprising Latter Part Of A Phrase Forces You To Reinterpret The First Part

A few days ago, I stumbled upon this figure of speech which to be honest, i’ve never heard before. It’s called Paraprosdokian (from Greek pará which means contrary and prosdokía, meaning expectation) and it does what its name suggests: it works contrary to expectation.

So what exactly is a Paraprosdokian?

A Paraprosdokian is a when the latter part of a phrase or a sentence is unexpected hence forcing the reader (or listener) to read again and reinterpret the first part. Usually this is made in a surprising and humorous way. Here are 10 cool examples: (the article continues after the ad)


“If I could just say a few words… I’d be a better public speaker.”


“On the other hand, you have different fingers.”


“The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”


“Take my wife – please!”


“If I am reading this graph correctly – I’d be very surprised.”


“The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.”


“There but for the grace of God – goes God.”


“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”


“I sleep eight hours a day, at least ten at night.”


“I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”

So, what do you think? Can you come up with a clever one?

If you like what you read, then you will definitely love this one: 25 Thoughts To Keep You Busy While In The Shower #2 

Photo: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Photoshop: I’m A Useless Info Junkie
Sources: ParaprosdokiansDictionary of Rhetorical Terms

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