You’ve heard them all your life, you just don’t know it. Paraprosdokians are just figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, and frequently humorous.
Winston Churchill loved them and you find them occasionally useful in presentations to customers or employees. Here’s an example:
“Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.”
Here are 10 more …
- The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
- Since light travels faster than sound, 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.
- To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
- 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 emergency, notify: I put ‘DOCTOR’.
- You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
- I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
- To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
- Going to church doesn’t make you religious any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
- You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
- I’m supposed to respect my elders, but these days, it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.
Paraprosdokians are often great ways to engage an audience on topics that are otherwise sensitive or boring. You can make almost any one of these into a story which illustrates a point you want to make.