Paraprosdokian Twists

Carolyn’s Online Magazine


I opened my email this morning and saw a strange word in the subject line. Since I trusted the sender—my friend Alice from Lakeside, Ohio, who lives in Australia—my curiosity made me open the correspondence.

It began…Winston Churchill loved paraprosdokians: figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is…surprising or unexpected.

I quickly highlighted the message and pasted it in my new vocabulary file, along with the illustrations, to use in a future post.

The next email I opened was the WordPress daily prompt for March 29, 2015. It was What a TwistTell us a story — fiction or non-fiction — with a twist we can’t see coming.

You didn’t see this coming, did you? The future is…today.

My favorite paraprosdokian on the list Alice sent me is chosen because I am authoring a novel requiring much research:

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.


Then I thought about a paraprosdokian I wrote and intend to tell the story about it in a future article:

  • When filling out medical forms and I come to the fill-in-the-blank question sex, I ask Should I say yes or no?

Below are the paraprosdokians—phrases ending with a twist you don’t see coming—I chose from the list Alice sent me, because these were the ones I liked the most.

Feel free to share them with your friends, or to link this post on your Facebook, Twitter, or other social media because it increases my magazine traffic, which makes me very happy.

I invite—no, I challenge—you to write a few of your own, and perhaps share them in the comment box below. Writing paraprosdokians is easier than pronouncing or spelling the word paraprosdokian (isn’t this another paraprosdokian?).


  1. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  2. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  3. In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put “DOCTOR.”
  4. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  5. You do not need a parachute to skydive .  You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  6. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  7. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  8. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  9. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.

All right, I understand you are curious as to the paraprosdokians I didn’t list. I would be curious too, so I decided to include them:

10. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.

11. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

12. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

13. They begin the evening news with ‘Good Evening,’ then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

14. I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted pay checks.

15. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

16. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street…with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

17. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.

18. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

19. There’s a fine line between cuddling and…holding someone down so they can’t get away.

20. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

21. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

22. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at My novel site is
This entry was posted in Feature Articles, WORDPRESS PROMPTS, Wordpress writing, WRITING and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Paraprosdokian Twists

  1. Jan says:

    Some people appear bright until you hear them speak… hadn’t heard that one, but I like it. Reminds me of a few folks.
    And what is it with those big beer-bellied bald buys who think they are sexy and then have a really attractive woman on their arm who agrees with them? That one is a real head scratcher.
    Thanks for the new word. It will be the first one in my new vocabulary file, which, by the way, is a great idea!


  2. merry101 says:

    paraprosdokian…hmm interesting word. I’ve come across it a few times. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s