Schallendes Lachen

Paraprosdokian

Posted on: September 23, 2010

A paraprosdokian (from Greek „παρα-„, meaning „beyond“ and „προσδοκία“, meaning „expectation“) is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists.

Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but also play on the double meaning of a particular word, creating asyllepsis.

Examples
• „If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.“ — Henry J. Tillman[1]
• „I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat.“ — Will Rogers[2][3]
• „She got her good looks from her father, he’s a plastic surgeon.“ —Groucho Marx
• „I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.“ — Groucho Marx
• „One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I’ll never know.“ — Groucho Marx
• „Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.“ — Groucho Marx
• „It looked so good out this morning, I thought I’d leave it out.“ — Paul Benjamin King
• „I haven’t slept for ten days. Because that would be too long.“ —Mitch Hedberg
• „You know, I’m sick of following my dreams, man. I’m just going to ask where they’re going and hook up with ‚em later.“ – Mitch Hedberg
• „There’s a bunch of different crunches that affect the abs… my favorite is Nestle.“ – Shmuel Breban
• „I like going to the park and watching the children run and jump around, because you see, they don’t know I’m using blanks.“ – Emo Philips
• „I discovered my wife in bed with another man, and I was crushed. So I said, ‚Get off me, you two!'“ – Emo Philips
• „Mark my words. No, Mark, I really need my words.“ — Stephen Colbert
• „If all the girls at Vassar were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised.“ — Dorothy Parker
• „It’s too bad that whole families have to be torn apart by something as simple as wild dogs.“ — Jack Handey
• „On the other hand, we have different fingers.“ — Jack Handey
• „The face of a child can say it all, especially the mouth part of the face.“ — Jack Handey

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.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

The last thing I want to do is hurt you.  But it’s still on the 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.

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

The early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

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.

How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, 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.

I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted pay checks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.

Whenever I fill out an application, in the part that says ‚In case of an emergency, notify:‘ I put „a very good DOCTOR“.

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

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

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.

Why do Americans choose from just two people to run for president and 50 for Miss America ?

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

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

You do not need a parachute to skydive.  You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

Always borrow money from a pessimist.  He won’t expect it back.

A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.

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

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

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.

Some cause happiness wherever they go.  Others whenever they go.

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 sure.

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.

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

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Some people hear voices.  Some see invisible people.  Others have no imagination whatsoever.

A bus is a vehicle that runs twice as fast when you are after it as when you are in it.

If you are supposed to learn from your mistakes, why do some people have more than one child?

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

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