Humorous words to make us sit up and take notice

Delores E. Topliff

Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and frequently humorous. (Winston Churchill loved them). Instead of predictable words we might tune out, they snap us awake and make us sit up to take notice.

There are plenty, and here are fun examples:
Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
Or, If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong. Check out https://www.englishforums.com/content/humour/paraprosdokians.htm for more.

Comics and satirists make good use of these. Here are a few fun ones. The first two are probably familiar:

  1. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  2. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  3. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  4. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

If you know other great examples, please share them, and join our crusade to make spoken and written English, crisp, clear, sparkling, fresh, inspiring, and delicious, so that whether we’re reading, or having good conversations, our words taken in and given out are like breaking bread together to be nourished. Basically, at their best, excellent shared words are communion.

Please tell us your favorites. Beautiful words shared during cold seasons (or anytime) help our steady advance towards spring when bright flowers takeover to do their job.

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