Tyson Adams

Putting the 'ill' back in thriller

Word of the Day: Paraprosdokian

There is definitely too little wit in the world today. The witless wonders that inhabit our world have made Every Body Loves Raymond a popular show. Paraprosdokian is a great example of wit. You take a sentence and then use the latter part of a sentence or phrase to surprise or twist the meaning; preferably using it to create humour. “Where there’s a will, I want to be in it,” is a type of paraprosdokian.
They are so good that famous people have used them:
  • “He was at his best when the going was good.” —Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor
  • There but for the grace of God — goes God.” —Winston Churchill
  • “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
  • “If all the girls who attended the Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.” —Dorothy Parker
  • “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” —Groucho Marx
  • “A modest man, who has much to be modest about.” — supposedly Winston Churchill, about Clement Attlee 
  • “She looks as though she’s been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say ‘when’.” —P. G. Wodehouse
  • “I like going to the park and watching the children run around because they don’t know I’m using blanks.” —Emo Phillips
  • “If I could say a few words, I’d be a better public speaker.” —Homer Simpson 
  • “I haven’t slept for ten days, because that would be too long.” —Mitch Hedberg 
  • “I sleep eight hours a day and at least ten at night.” —Bill Hicks

In my own writing I am trying to use humour to offset the dark themes and violence so that I can undermine societal values because you don’t see much humour in thrillers. Here are some examples of paraprosdokian sentences that might tickle some funny bones:

  • Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  • The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it’s still on my list.
  • 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.
  • We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right – only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Evening news is where they begin with ‘Good Evening,’ and then proceed to tell you why it isn’t.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.
  • Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’
  • I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • 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.
  • Behind every successful man is his woman. Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
  • A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.
  • I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.
  • There’s a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I’m not so sure.
  • You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  • Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • A diplomat is someone who tells you to go to hell in such a way that you look forward to the trip.
  • Hospitality is making your guests feel at home even when you wish they were.
  • 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.
  • Words of Wisdom “The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.”
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