Sometimes, even at my advanced age, it is possible to learn something new.
I have always admired people who have a way with words. I thought I knew all about words and language, but the other day, a friend used the word “paraprosdokian” and it stopped me in my tracks. Do you know what it is?
The dictionary says: “Paraprosdokian — A figure of speech in which the end of the sentence is surprising or unexpected. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an earlier phrase, but they also play on the double entendre of a particular word, creating a syllepsis.” Well, who knew that!?
I am told Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians!
Just so you’ll know — here are a few paraprosdokians:
Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
Evening News is where they begin, ‘Good evening,’ and then tell you why it isn’t.
To steal from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
Why do Americans choose from two people for president, and 50 for Miss America?
Hospitality: Making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were.
When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember the fire department usually uses water.
Always borrow money from a pessimist — he won’t expect it back.
The food here is terrible — and such small portions!
A clear conscience is usually a sign of bad memory.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.
There’s a price on your head? Take it!
I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of an emergency notify:’ I put ‘a doctor.’
The light at the end of a tunnel is usually another train coming.
You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
Going to church doesn’t make you religious any more than standing in the garage makes you a car.
And mine is: I’m supposed to respect my elders, except I can’t find any!
“Take my wife — please!” – Henny Youngman
“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” — Groucho Marx
“You can count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.” — Winston Churchill
Supposedly Winston Churchill said about Clement Attlee: “He was a modest man, and he had much to be modest about.”
“I don’t belong to an organized political party. I’m a Democrat.” — Will Rogers
Mark Twain declared: “First God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards.”
And finally: “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.” — Will Rogers
I believe most of us know these quips — we just didn’t know what they were called.
When you see what passes today for verbal communication between people in daily discourse, and on TV, you realize how crippling it is to be able to think but not to be able to express your thoughts with force, exactitude and humor. Now you know the word! When in doubt, use a paraprosdokian!