Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

Today I think I’ll use… Paraprosdokian


It’s fun to use obscure literary and rhetorical terms that nobody knows for techniques that we use all the time.

All paraprosdokian is, it turns out, it ending a phrase or sentence with something surprising. It’s used a lot, though hardly ever with this tongue-twister of a name associated with it. It’s from the Greek, natch.

Here’s a great example of paraprosdokian from Dorothy Parker: “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”

Funny, huh? Usually paraprosdokian is used to humorous effect. (More examples here.)

Paraprosdokian. Go ahead and use it!

2 comments on “Today I think I’ll use… Paraprosdokian

  1. sknicholls
    August 25, 2014

    I need to learn more about how to be funny. Thanks for the pointer.

  2. John W. Howell
    August 25, 2014

    These were laugh out loud funny. Thanks

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This entry was posted on August 25, 2014 by in Writing and tagged .
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