Ok, I confess, before reading Andris Bear’s blog http://andrisbear.blogspot.com/ on paraprosdokian sentences, I’d never heard of them. But I was instantly intriqued. Andris is a fellow member of HCRW (Heart of Carolina Romance Writers) my friend, and one of my critique partners. So, after reading her blog, I invited her to blog here today and share what she knows about those wonderfully entertaining sentences.
But first, a little bit about Andris…
Andris Bear Bio:
Andris Bear blames her mother for her fascination with books. Growing up in northern Indiana there wasn’t much to do and she often complained of boredom. Her mom handed her a book and told her to shush. She’s been obsessed ever since.
Though Andris spent most of her time in between the pages, fantasizing of other worlds, she didn’t write her first book until she’d had three children—just in time to have not a moment to herself. In an attempt to keep her sanity, she writes. Her favorite stories contain strong heros and heroines, fighting an attraction stronger than both of them.
Andris lives in eastern North Carolina with her husband and three children in chaotic bliss.
So, Andris, what is a paraprosdokian sentence and why do you like them so much?
I am in love with laughter—not my own. Other people’s. Crafting a sentence for another’s amusement brings me unparalleled joy and satisfaction. As a writer, I feel humor is one of the best ways to bond with your readers. It helps to break tension in a story and compels the reader to continue.
One of my favorite tools in my arsenal of buffoonery is a Paraprosdokian sentence. What’s that, you ask? A Paraprosdokian sentence is a figure of speech in which the latter part of the sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the listener or reader to reframe or reinterpret the first part.
“If all the girl’s who attended Yale prom were laid end to end, I wouldn’t be surprised.” – Dorothy Parker
“I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” –Groucho Marx
“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.
“The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.”
“I’d agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.”
“You don’t need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.”
“You’re never too old to learn something stupid.”
Delightful, aren’t they? So tell me, as readers, what do you adore in the stories you love? What brings you back for more? If you’re a fellow writer, how do you pull humor into your writing? Or whatever it is you use to brand your story and make it your own?