Paraprosdokian – a funny figure of speech, if I could pronounce it.
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.
"If I could say a few words, I'd be a better public speaker." —Homer Simpson
"If I am reading this graph correctly — I'd be very surprised." —Stephen Colbert
"You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing — after they have tried everything else." —Winston Churchill
"If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be a bit surprised." — Dorothy Parker
"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." —Groucho Marx
"She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say when." —P. G. Wodehouse
And here's some from the old-boys network.
Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat
you with experience.
I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not
screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright
until you hear them speak.
If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
War does not determine who is right -- only who is left.
Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a
The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
Evening news is where they begin with "Good evening," and then proceed
to tell you why it isn't.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is
A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train
stops. My desk is a work station.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a
whole box to start a campfire?
Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can
train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted pay checks.
A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you
don't need it.
Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "If an
emergency, notify:" I put "DOCTOR."
I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars,
but checks when you say the paint is wet?
Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and
50 for Miss America ?
Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a
successful man is usually another woman.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.
A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that
you will look forward to the trip.
Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.
Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
I discovered I scream the same way whether I'm about to be devoured by
a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they
can't get away.
I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department
usually uses water.
You're never too old to learn something stupid.
Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as
when you are in it.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.