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Figures of Speech

Figures of Speech (Photo credit: Enokson)

If you can pronounce it then you probably don’t need to read further, however, if you want to smile out loud at these figures of speech that twist the meaning of the sentence as a whole. Comedians and satirists use paraprosdokians all the time!  Here are Thursday’s Top Ten plus Two:

Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet. 

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas! 

Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.

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Double entendre postcard. "All right boss...

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Wikipedia defines a paprosdokians as ” 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.[1]

Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating a form of syllepsis. “  Gail sent me an email of these clever phrases and I want to share some of them with you in this Thursday’s Top Ten.

  1. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  2. If I agreed with you, then we’d both be wrong.
  3. The last thing in the world I’d want to do is hurt you.  But it’s still on my list.
  4. Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.  Intelligence is knowing not to put in the fruit bowl.
  5. I thought I wanted a career.  Turns out I only wanted a paycheck.
  6. I didn’t say it was your fault.  I said I was blaming you.
  7. You don’t need a parachute to sky dive.  You only need a parachute to sky dive twice.
  8. I used to be indecisive.  Now, I’m not so sure.
  9. They begin the evening news with “Good Evening” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  10. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, but steal from many and it’s called research.

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Paraprosdokian Sentences

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.  It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect.

I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way.  So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.

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.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any  more than standing in a a garage makes you a 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 fruit salad.

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 research.

A bus station is where a bus stops.  A train station is where a train stops.  My desk is work station.  A work station is…

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire.

Some people are like Slinkies…not really good for anything but you can’t  help smilingwhen you see one tumble down the stairs.


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