Tuesday, March 21, 2017


Joan from Torch Lake reminded me of a figure of speech that is delightful to encounter. It involves a sentence in which the last half presents a twist in meaning – an unexpected conclusion – that causes the listener to go back to the first half to reinterpret the meaning of a term.

This is a good example: “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” In the first half, we immediately interpret change as alteration or transformation. But when we get to vending machine, we are forced to shift the meaning of change to coins.

This figure of speech is called paraprosdokian. It comes from the Greek παρά (para-), against, and προσδοκία (prosdokia), expectation. Let me share some examples.

·      Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
  • A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  • Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • Light travels faster than sound. That’s why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • War does not determine who is right - only who is left.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • Hospitality: making your guests feel like they're at home, even if you wish they were.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not sure.
        Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.


Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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