Friday, December 24, 2010

Paraprosdokian

My Aunt Joan sent my mother an e-mail about a figure of speech called a paraprosdokian. The e-mail defined it as a figure of speech in which "the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way which causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part." I found the same text here. Examples of paraprosdokians:

I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.

War doesn't determine who is right, but who is left.

A modest man, with very much to be modest about. - Winston Churchill on Clement Atlee

Searching for paraprosdokians online led me to this list of rhetorical terms from the University of Kentucky.