182 Paraprosdokians

One of the more popular posts I put up was on paraprosdokians. For those who don’t know, a parprosdokian is a sentence which consists of two parts. The first is a figure of speech and the second an intriguing variation of the first. One definition that works is the following:

Paraprosdokian is a figure of speech, which little known by the general public, but is well understood by satirsts.  The key feature is that the final words make the listener reinterpret the first part of the sentence.

Additional paraprosdokians and near-paraprosdokians can be found at the above definition link.

Paraprosdokians are used typically for humorous or dramatic effect. Here is a list, some of which might have been included in the original post. I don’t have attribution for many.

  1. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  2. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  3. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  4. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  5. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  6. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  7. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  8. We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
  9. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  10. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  11. Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  12. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  13. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  14. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  15. Some people are like Slinkies … not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.
  16. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
  17. I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
  18. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet?
  19. Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America ?
  20. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  21. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  22. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  23. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  24. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  25. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  26. Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  27. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  28. Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
  29. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
  30. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  31. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  32. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  33. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  34. Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
  35. A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
  36. If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
  37. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  38. I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  39. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  40. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  41. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  42. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  43. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  44. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  45. We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
  46. War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  47. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  48. Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good evening’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  49. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  50. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  51. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  52. Some people are like Slinkies … not really good for anything, but you can’t help smiling when you see one tumble down the stairs.
  53. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
  54. I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
  55. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet?
  56. Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America ?
  57. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  58. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  59. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  60. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  61. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  62. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  63. Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  64. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  65. Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others whenever they go.
  66. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
  67. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  68. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  69. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  70. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  71. Some people hear voices. Some see invisible people. Others have no imagination whatsoever.
  72. A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
  73. If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?
  74. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  75. The car stopped on a dime, which unfortunately was in a pedestrian’s pocket.
  76. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  77. Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes. That way, you will be a mile away and he won’t have any shoes.
  78. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  79. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  80. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  81. We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
  82. War does not determine who is right — only who is left.
  83. Two guys walked into a bar. The third one ducked.
  84. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  85. The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  86. Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  87. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  88. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted pay checks.
  89. A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.
  90. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says in an emergency, notify,I put A DOCTOR.
  91. I didn’t say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
  92. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but has to check when you say the paint is wet?
  93. Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America?
  94. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You need a parachute only to skydive twice.
  95. Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
  96. Hospitality: making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  97. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  98. Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.
  99. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish.
  100. I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed touches my foot.
  101. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not sure.
  102. When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water.
  103. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  104. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  105. A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
  106. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  107. Here are a few by some of the masters of the art. (Quoting them is not a wholesale endorsement.)
  108. “I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my father, not screaming and terrified like his passengers.” — Bob Monkhouse
  109. “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.” — Henry J. Tillman
  110. “The saying ‘Getting there is half the fun’ became obsolete with the advent of commercial airlines.” — Henry J. Tillman
  111. “A fool and his money are soon elected.” — Will Rogers
  112. “Ohio claims they are due a president as they haven’t had one since Taft. Look at the United States, they have not had one since Lincoln.” — Will Rogers (Rob adds: Not to take away from Will Rogers’s brilliant paraprosdokian, but … for the sake of several history buffs who read my blog, Rogers must have made this statement before Harding was elected.)
  113. “If I am reading this graph correctly, I would be very surprised.” — Stephen Colbert
  114. “There’s a bunch of different crunches that affect the abs … my favorite is Nestle.” — Shmuel Breban
  115. “When I was 10, I beat up the school bully. His arms were in casts. That’s what gave me the courage.” — Emo Philips
  116. “I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they’d never expect it.” — Jack Handey
  117. “‘The crows seemed to be calling his name,’ thought Caw.” — Jack Handey
  118. “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.” — Winston Churchill
  119. “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”- Winston Churchill
  120. “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” — Winston Churchill (said of Clement Attlee)
  121. “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” — Groucho Marx
  122. “She got her good looks from her father; he’s a plastic surgeon.” — Groucho Marx
  123. “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.” — Groucho Marx
  124. “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” — Groucho Marx
  125. “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” — Groucho Marx
  126. If you can’t sleep, count sheep. Don’t count endangered animals. You will run out.
  127. A fly was very close to being called a land, because that’s what it does half the time.
  128. I want to rob a bank with a BB gun. “Give me all your money or I will give you a dimple! I will be rich, you will be cute. We both win.”
  129. I had a chicken finger that was so big, it was a chicken hand.
  130. I got binoculars ’cause I don’t want to go that close.
  131. I can read minds, but I’m illiterate.
  132. If Spiderman was real, and I was a criminal, and he shot me with his web, I would say, “Dude, thanks for the hammock.”
  133. I got a belt on that’s holding up my pants, and the pants have belt loops that hold up the belt. What’s going on here? Who is the real hero?
  134. I had the cab driver drive me here backwards, and the dude owed me $27.50.
  135. Kittens play with yarn, they bat it around. What they’re really doing is saying, “I can’t knit, get this away from me!”
  136. I met this girl, she was an actress, and she gave me her number. It started with 555.
  137. If you don’t know a light bulb is a three-way light bulb, it messes with your head. You reach to turn it off, and it just gets brighter! That’s the exact opposite of what I wanted you to do! So you turn the switch again, and it gets brighter once more! I will break you, light bulb!
  138. I went to a restaurant with my friend, and he said, “Pass the salt.” I said, “Screw you! Sit closer to the salt.”
  139. Imagine if the headless horseman had a headless horse. That would be chaos. I would think that if you were the headless horseman’s horse, you would be very confused. “I don’t think this dude can see.”
  140. “I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.” — Will Rogers
  141.  Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
  142.  “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” — Groucho Marx
  143.  “Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” — Groucho Marx
  144.  “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” — Winston Churchill (of Clement Atlee)
  145.  “If you are going through hell, keep going.” — Winston Churchill
  146.  “The car stopped on a dime, which unfortunately was in a pedestrian’s pocket.”
  147.  “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” — Mitch Hedberg
  148.  “Take my wife—please.” — Henny Youngman
  149.  ” It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” Winston Churchill
  150.  “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Winston Churchill
  151. “I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my father, not screaming and terrified like his passengers.” — Bob Monkhouse
  152. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on the list.
  153. If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
  154. We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
  155. War does not determine who is right — only who is left.
  156. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  157. The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
  158. Evening news is where they begin with “Good evening,” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  159. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  160. A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. My desk is a work station.
  161. How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
  162. Dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool 
and throw them fish.
  163. I thought I wanted a career; turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  164. A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.
  165. Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says “In an emergency, notify,” I put “A DOCTOR.”
  166. I didn’t say it was your fault, I just said I was blaming you.
  167. Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?
  168. Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  169. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  170. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  171. The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!
  172. I discovered I scream the same way whether I’m about to be devoured by a great white shark or if a piece of seaweed 
touches my foot.
  173. Some cause happiness wherever they go. Others — whenever they go.
  174. There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  175. I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  176. I always take life with a grain of salt… plus a slice of lemon… and a shot of tequila.
  177. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  178. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  179. Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  180. A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.
  181. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  182. I used to be conceited, but now I’m perfect.
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9 Comments

  1. Lovely diversions but some of them also true(winston churchill:about americans that do the right thing:
    But only after doing other stuff!)

    Enlivens one s day !thank you Monty!

    I also like all your pictiures and paintings etc that you post with your stories

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