Our lives continue to be enriched by new and improbable words. Well, they’re improbable to me until I look them up. The other day after I ran across the word “paraprosdokian” and found a definition, I thought about how we are repeatedly warned to ferret out those dreadful clichés. A paraprosdokian” may solve our problems.
Wikipedia and the Internet claim that paraprosdokian is a word, that it’s a “rhetorical” term that begins with a well-known or traditional saying, proverb or phrase but ends with an unusual or smart-butt twist at the end.
Anybody out there heard of this word? Anyway, here are a few from the web site www.englishforums.com/content/humour/paraprosdokians.htm:
“Behind every successful man is his woman; behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.”
I like this one: “If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.”
What about, “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.”
And this classic: “Where there’s a will, there are relatives.”
So now there may be hope for some of those clichés that you deleted from your last manuscript. Drag em back out, tack on some cryptic endings to the worst ones, and stick em back in. Now they’re “fresh.”
Do you have a favorite paraprosdokian?
My husband is pretty good with coming up with these. The only one I can think of right now is from an old country song: "The only thing I can count on any more are my fingers."
Melinda, that's a winner.
One that I heard a few weeks ago was, "Slow and steady … won't win you any gold medals."
Well, my husband always tells me that we have to use our powers for goof.