Friday, March 4, 2011

Disecting the Paraprosdokian Sentence with Andris Bear

Ok, I confess, before reading Andris Bear's blog 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.

While pursuing publication, Andris writes delightful paranormal/urban fantasy romance with a touch of humor. Her current WIP involves sexy angels and demons and one kick-ass heroine.

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?


  1. Quite delightful post. As a reader, I love stories that make me laugh or make me forget I'm reading. I haven't really attempted to write humor into my stories, feeling there are others, like yourself, more talented at it. I just try and write characters my readers can empathize with.

  2. What a delightful post! And I learned something, too, which is always a treat. I love writing with humor, almost to the point of it being slapstick. Because not everyone likes it or understands it, I try to pull back and hold it at bay. Even so, I agree with you, making someone else laugh is a fabulous thing.

  3. Thank you, ladies, for stopping by Lilly's blog and commenting. A writer who makes me laugh gets a reader for life. And yet, my favorite books are usually dark. I guess I'm an extremist! :)

  4. Thanks for a great blog Andris. It was fun having you.

  5. Andris, A writer who makes me laugh gets a reader for life sums up one of the main reasons I love to read. I also love to be transported to different places and be riveted into different lives with amazing heros and heroines.
    Thanks Lilly for this post!

  6. Thank you for having me Lilly! Always a pleasure!

  7. rbooth, I love humor in my reads--an unexpected chuckle endears me to the writer and I'll happily grab their next book. Thank you for stopping by and reading the post!