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Paraprosdokians

Sentences that Throw you a Curve
What are Paraprosdokians?

Paraprosdokian is not an Armenian writer or football coach but a figure of speech characterized by an abrupt change of direction at the end. It is a phrase that intentionally leads us down the garden path, that misleads us into thinking one way, then suddenly ending on an unexpected twist. Stand-up comedians who like one-liners use lots of them, because the setup and punchline are all in a single line.

Here are some examples that we've gathered from various sources. If we didn't include your favorite, please send it to us via our Contact Page and we will give it our full consideration.

  • There but for the grace of God goes God. —Sir Winston Churchill, a comment on Sir Stafford Cripps, British socialist philosopher
  • Two wrongs don't make a right—but three lefts do.
  • Now, you take my wife . . . PLEASE! —Henny Youngman
  • 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.

  • War does not determine who is right—only who is left.
  • The early bird gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  • 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.

  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says "If an emergency, notify . . . ," I put "DOCTOR".
  • I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" written on it...so I said "Implants?"
  • Americans choose between two people for president but among fifty for Miss America.
  • Behind the rise of every successful man stands a woman and behind the fall of every successful man is another woman.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

  • Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go. —Oscar Wilde
  • I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
  • When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  • You're never too old to learn something stupid.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

  • "If I am reading this graph correctly — I'd be very surprised." —Stephen Colbert
  • "You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing...after they have tried everything else." —Winston Churchill
  • "On his feet he wore ... blisters." —Aristotle
  • "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn't it." —Groucho Marx
  • In the morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I don't know. —Groucho Marx
  • One thing you mustn't miss when you are in Nome—the plane!
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