The Rise and Fall of the Paraprosdokian Empire

Anything good enough for Winston Churchill is more than good enough for me.
Anything good enough for Winston Churchill is more than good enough for me.

EVERY SO OFTEN, and not often enough, my friend and blogger Jenny McCutcheon sends me a new list of Paraprosdokians.

When I received the first batch, I had never heard of the word before.

I had no idea what they were.

A Paraprosdokian sounded to me like a Transylvanian sports car.

I can see the first line in a novel now:

He staggered out of the bar – bleeding from a cut on his forehead and a knife in his chest – jumped into his new, crimson, super-charged Paraprosdokian and threaded his way through the valley toward Count Dracula’s castle.

Or maybe they are the strange little creatures who live beneath the middle earth of a fantasy novel:

They crawled out of their hole at midnight and looked at a brave new world around them. The king of the Paraprosdokians would build his own kingdom at the edge of the swamp, and earth would never be the same again.

Either fortunately or unfortunately, Jenny explained that paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, frequently humorous.

She said Winston Churchill loved them.

That’s enough for me.

I love them, too.

Here are the paraprosdokians she sent.

Everyone of them would work somewhere in a good novel:


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

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 determined who is right or wrong – 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.”

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.

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 sure.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian 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 it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.


I drove off this morning in my new, crimson, super-charged Paraprosdokian to see if I could find any more.

And here’s what I stumbled across:

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.

Evening news is where they being with “Good Evening” and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.

How is it one careless match can start a campfire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire.

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.

Why does someone believe you when you there are four billion stars but check when you say the paint is wet.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell and make you look forward to the trip.

Hospitality is making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.

Why do Americans choose from two people for president and fifty for Miss America?

They all make sense to me.

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