Capita a volte di scoprire, con piacere, qualche curioso termine sconosciuto per un uso particolare della propria lingua.  A me è successo ultimamente, grazie a Paolocon il termine paraprosdokian (per la pronuncia clicca QUI).

Se il termine è nuovo anche per te, ecco una precisa definizione presa da Wikipedia:

“Un paraprosdokian è una figura retorica utilizzata per dare una conclusione inaspettata e sorprendente ad una frase da cui ci si attendeva una chiusura adeguata alla prima parte del discorso. Accade allora che tutta la locuzione venga alterata nel suo significato complessivo e si debba reinterpretarla.
Il paraprosdokian si ritrova spesso usato nella commedia e nella satira dove, sfruttando anche il doppio senso di una parola, produce una inaspettata comicità.”

Bene, armato già da un bell’elenco di esempi fornitomi da Paolo, ho fatto un po’ di ricerche online e ne ho aggiunto altri per crearti un esercizio di lettura e, spero, anche di divertimento!

Per sapere il significato delle parole evidenziate,
passaci sopra con il mouse senza cliccare.
(PC only – sorry!)

  1. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
  2. Money can’t buy happiness, but it sure makes misery a lot easier.
  3. Some cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.
  4. Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.*
  5. The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on my list.
  6. Since light travels faster than sound, some people seem to be bright until you hear them speak
  7. If I agreed with you, we would both be wrong.
  8. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.
  9. War does not determine who is right, only who is left.
  10. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  11. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism, to steal from many is research.
  12. I always take life with a grain of salt, plus a slice of lemon, and a shot of tequila.
  13. I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  14. You do not need a parachute to skydive, you only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  15. I used to be indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
  16. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and then say that what you hit was the target.
  17. Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  18. You’re never too old to learn something stupid.
  19. I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting more difficult for me to find one now.
  20. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
  21. I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.
  22. Always borrow money from a pessimist; he won’t expect it back.
  23. A bus station is where a bus stops; a train station is where a train stops; my desk is a work station.
  24. Do not argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
  25. Sometimes I pretend to be normal, but it gets boring so I go back to being me.
  26. I like work, it fascinates me, I can sit and watch it for hours.
  27. I’m missing you, but my aim is improving.
  28. I’d like to see a world without plagiarism. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
  29. If it weren’t for the gutter, my mind would be homeless.
  30. A clean house is a sign of a wasted life.
  31. I asked God for a bike but I know God doesn’t work that way, so I stole a bike and I asked God for forgiveness.
  32. I wondered why the football was getting bigger and bigger; then it hit me.
  33. A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  34. Hospitality is making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.
  35. Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
  36. Take my advice, after all, I’m not using it.
  37. My wife and I were happy for twenty years; then we met.
  38. Have you ever stopped to think and then forgotten to start again?
  39. A bank is a place that will lend you money, if you can prove that you don’t need it.
  40. Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend thinking.
  41. I was going to give him a nasty look, but he already had one.
  42. Money is the root of all wealth.**
  43. If you think nobody cares whether you’re alive or not, try missing a couple of payments.
  44. I’ve had a wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.
  45. Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.
  46. Growing old is bad; not growing old is worse.
  47. I used to be conceited, but now I’m perfect.
  48. Nostalgia isn’t what it once used to be.
  49. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but three lefts do.
  50. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
  51. In a marriage there is always someone who is right; the other one is the husband.
  • *Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
    Dove c’è la volontà, c’è una via.
  • **Money is the root of all evil.
    Il denaro è la causa (radice) di ogni male.


Author: Tony

Born and raised in Malaysia between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Educated at Wycliffe College in Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, England. Living in the foothills of Mount Etna since 1982 and teaching English at Catania University since 1987.

5 thoughts on “Paraprosdokians”

    1. No, it’s not easy at all! It’s typical of comedians who play with words. The idea is not for you to invent your own, in any case. It is just a pice of interesting and amusing reading practice.
      I tried to write one of my own: “If you can’t beat them, run for it”, (based on the proverb: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”)


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