Wednesday, September 2, 2020

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PARAPROSDOKIAN?



I love figures of speech like metaphors and similes, malapropos, paraprosdokians--—wait a minute. A para-what?

McMillan Dictionary defines a paraprosdokian as 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 reinterpret the first part. Here are some famous paraprosdokians:

“If I agreed with you, then we’d both be wrong.” Attributed to Winston Churchill who loved paraprosdokians.

“If there’s a will, I want to be in in.”

“In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put "DOCTOR."
Or
'In case of an emergency, call:' I put "an ambulance."

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

“War does not determine who is right…only who is left.”

“I used to be indecisive. Not I’m not sure.”

“I’ve had perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.”

“Mark my words. Seriously, Mark, I need my words."

“A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.”

“I’m supposed to respect my elders, but now it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one.”

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

“The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.”

“There’s a fine line between cuddling and… holding someone down so they can’t get away.”

“I thought I wanted a career. Turns out, I just wanted paychecks.”

Now for famous Malapropos or as I knew it, Malaprops:

Here’s the definition of malapropism from Your Dictionary: the act of using an incorrect word in place of one that is similar in pronunciation. The word comes from a character named Mrs. Malaprop in the play "The Rivals" by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. Malapropism is also referred to as Dogberryism, named after Officer Dogberry in Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing." Both characters made these speech errors.

The police are not here to create disorder, they're here to preserve disorder." - Richard Daley, former mayor of Chicago

"He was a man of great statue." - Thomas Menino, mayor of Boston

"Texas has a lot of electrical votes." (electoral votes) - Yogi Berra

"Well, that was a cliff-dweller." (cliff-hanger) - Wes Westrum

"Be sure and put some of those neutrons on it." (croutons) - Mike Smith

"It's got lots of installation." (insulation) - Mike Smith speaking about a new coat

"Create a little dysentery among the ranks." (dissension) - Christopher Moltisanti from "The Sopranos"

"This is unparalyzed in the state's history." (unparelled) - Gib Lewis, Texas Speaker of the House

So what’s the purpose of these figures of speech for a writer? I love to give secondary characters one of these traits. It lightens the story and makes for a memorable character. You don’t have to limit it to the two I’ve mentioned here. A character who always mixes his metaphors is fun to write as well.

So what’s your favorite figure of speech? Can you come up with a paraprosdokian or malapropos? If you can, leave it in the comments and I'll enter you in a drawing for a $10 gift card of your choice. If you can't think of one, just say, hi! :-) 








52 comments:

  1. "Ninety percent of the game is half mental." Yogi Berra

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  2. An oldie: Take my wife...please. ;)

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Robin, I've heard that one and it always gets me to laugh.

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  3. Hi. I can’t think of any this early. Interesting article.

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  4. My eight year old says a lot of malpropos and it’s quite funny and cute but can’t think of any of her sayings off top of my head right now.

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    1. I know...I can never remember something when I need to, Mindy!

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  5. My favorite of my dad’s. “That was so funny, I forgot to laugh” and “Same thing, only different”. My youngest used to use malapropism all the time. He’s beginning to grow out of it and I’m going to miss it.
    Thanks for this - I love reading about these kind of things.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mikki! Next Tuesday on my ptbradley blog, I'm posting a few riddles.

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  6. This was so much fun!
    We always need to live in a way that will be a good affluence (influence) on others.
    lhanberry1 at gmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. I like that, Linda! Sounds like something Yogi Berra would say...oh, and I used to say Yogi Bear when I was talking about the baseball player.

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  7. I'm sorry that I'm a little behind--or rather a big behind.

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  8. I learned something today - I am a retired teacher and had not heard of these words!! I will have to think of some examples but don't have any to share at the moment. Thanks for sharing these!!!

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    Replies
    1. Debbie, if you think of any, come back and post again!

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  9. Hi! I am sorry, I cannot come up with any sentences that pertain to your interesting topic. Thank you for the opportunity to enter a contest.
    Have a wonderful day and stay safe!
    Tracey
    traceyboehm1@aol.com

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  10. Hi, these are wonderful! Brightened my morning.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  11. "It is beyond my apprehension" - Danny Ozark, MLB manager

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  12. I have felt better, but I do not remember when.

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  13. can't think of any
    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    Replies
    1. I can never think of anything when someone say come up with blank. lol

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  14. Don't put all your eggs in one basket unless you're in the hen house. I also was a teacher and had never heard of these - at least not the actual word to explain them. Love it! clhutson1016(at)gmail(dot)com

    Also have you seen that picture that has 27 figures of speech in it?

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  15. I haven't seen it Carolyn! I'll have to find it.

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  16. Word play is so much fun. I can't think of any right now, but I'm taking note.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  17. I have 2 sayings they are: "If wishes were horses beggars would ride" and "Time flies when you are having fun". A couple other ones are: "Never say never" and "Never give up".
    I hope I Win.
    Crystal
    Crystal

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    Replies
    1. Crystal, my dad always said those two things! Thanks for stopping by!

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  18. That was so funny, I forgot to laugh!

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  19. Said to the piano player: I'm glad you showed up. I thought we were going to have to sing Acapulco (acappella)!

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  20. I like misplaced modifiers such as Table for sale by little old lady with rickety legs.
    Catbooks72(at)gmail(dot)com

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  21. 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.

    psalm103and138atgmaildotcom

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  22. We knew an old lady who would often use Malapropos. Two of the funniest ones were:

    "I like the King James virgin of the Bible."

    "I live in a pre-flab house."

    :)

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    1. Oops! I forgot to leave my email. It is:

      nj(dot)bossman(at)gmail(dot)com

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  23. Yogi Berra: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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  24. Replies
    1. I can't either, Natalya! I have to go to a site that pronounces it for me. lol

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  25. Does this one count? "It's been real, it's been fun... But it's not been real fun."

    Okay,so I had to Google this because I still don't have a clue what it is. Here's some "official" examples :

    "War does not determine who is right ... only who is left."
    —Often (and probably mistakenly) attributed to Bertrand Russell

    "Behind every great man there's a woman, rolling her eyes."
    —Jim Carrey's character in the movie Bruce Almighty

    "If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong."
    —Attributed to Sir Winston Churchill. "

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