Jose Carillo's English Forum

General Category => Language Humor at its Finest => Topic started by: Joe Carillo on February 02, 2015, 11:57:16 AM

Title: 40 Choice Paraprosdokians To Make Sense of Our Times
Post by: Joe Carillo on February 02, 2015, 11:57:16 AM
40 Choice Paraprosdokians To Make Sense of Our Lives

Below is a selection of quotable quotes to help people make sense of terribly unsettled and alarming times in their personal and national life. Each of the quotes uses a figure of speech called a paraprosdokian, where the latter part of a sentence, phrase, or larger discourse is said in such a surprising or unexpected way that it forces the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. Often used for humorous or dramatic effect and sometimes producing an anticlimax, paraprosdokians are a powerful tool of satirists and comedians for engaging their audiences.

On wisdom or the lack or total absence of it:

1. “Almost all our faults are more pardonable than the methods we resort to hide them.”François de La Rochefoucauld


2. “There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs.”*Thomas Sowell

3. “Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.”

4. “Few people have the wisdom to prefer the criticism that would do them good, to the praise that deceives them.”François de La Rochefoucauld

5. “Making mistakes is not a problem; not catching those mistakes is where the trouble starts.”Ed Berger

6. “You’re never too old to learn something stupid.”Unknown contributor to an English forum

7. “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”Albert Einstein


8. “Some people live and learn, others live but never learn.”I. Lee

9. “The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”Isaac Asimov

10. “It takes 8,460 bolts to assemble an automobile, and one nut to scatter it all over the road.”


*Recent events in our national life have put the wisdom of the anti-climax of this generally true paraprosdokian in grave doubt.

On religious belief:

1. “When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion.”Robert Pirsig


2. “The cardinal doctrine of a fanatic’s creed is that his enemies are the enemies of God.”Andrew Dickson White

3. “We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”Richard Dawkins

4. “Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.” (A risqué critique of Christianity)George Carlin, American comedian, social critic, actor, and author

5. “Atheism is a non-prophet organization.”George Carlin


6. “All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays.Cathy Ladman

7. Definition of term:Infidel, n. In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

8. “I asked God for a bike, but I know God doesn’t work that way. So I stole a bike and asked for forgiveness.”*Anonymous
*Alas, this seems every bit like the moral principle of unbridled plunderers of our government coffers.

On society and its predilections:

1. “A consensus means that everyone agrees to say collectively what no one believes individually.”Abba Eban

2. “If you think you can, you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”Mary Kay Ash

3. The Senility Prayer: “God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference.”Anonymous

4. “Men do make passes at girls who wear glasses; it depends on their frames.”Dorothy Parker

5. “Hospitality is making your guests feel like they’re at home, even if you wish they were.”Unknown contributor


6. “Laughter is the best medicine since (or if) you don’t have health insurance.”From a collection of Jewish paraprosdokians

7. “A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain.”Robert Frost

8. “If you planted hope today in any hopeless heart,
     If someone’s burden was lighter because you did your part,
     If you caused a laugh that chased a tear away,
     If tonight your name is mentioned when someone kneels to pray,
     Then your day was well spent.”



9. “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”Peter Drucker

10. “The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought.”Richard Feynman

11. “The trouble with half-truths is that people tend to believe the wrong half.”Unknown

12. “A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.”Lana Turner


13. “Marriage is like a public toilet. Those waiting outside are desperate to get in and those inside are desperate to come out.”Unknown

14. “I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car.”Anonymous

15. “Experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it.”Unknown

On life as it really happens:

1. “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”Hilary Cooper


2. “All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.”—From Paul Niquette’s paraprosdokian collection

3. “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”Winston Churchill

4. “For every complex question there is a simple answer. And it’s wrong.”H. L. Mencken

5. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”Maya Angelou

6. “The height of embarrassment is when two sets of eyes meet through a keyhole.”Unknown

7. “Luck is the crossroads where preparation and opportunity meet.”Unknown

—Chosen from a splendid quotations collection in “A Research Guide for Students by I. Lee” (

N.B. All the photos in this collection are recent additions provided by the Forum. (December 10, 2017)