What's a Paraprosdokian?
by Nancy Blanchard - posted Thursday, January 10th, 2013 @ 12:00 pm
According to Wikipedia, a paraprosdokian 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." They are popular with comedians, because they can be very funny. They can be used as put-downs, but sometimes they also make us stop and think about how the world really works. Here are some examples:
• Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
• 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.
Nancy Blanchard, Ed.S, NCC/NCSC, LPC is a counselor at Highland and Lenwil Elementary Schools in West Monroe.