Groucho Marx, Dorothy Parker, & Winston Churchill were masters of the paraprosdokian, a one-liner that ends in a manner that causes the reader to reconsider the beginning.
A classic example is Where there’s a will, I want to be in it.
The word paraprosdokian comes from Greek. It’s a combination of para-, meaning against, & prosdokian, meaning expectation.
Here are a few anonymous ones:
Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.
War doesn’t determine who is right—only who is left.
Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won’t expect it back.
Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
The last thing I want to do is hurt you, but it’s still on the list.
And here are a few more from luminaries:
Winston Churchill — “If you are going through Hell, keep going.”
And another from Winston Churchill — “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.”
Zsa Zsa Gabor —“He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce, I keep the house.”
Groucho Marx—”I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.”
Albert Einstein—“The difference between stupidity & genius is that genius has its limits.”
Dorothy Parker — “If all the girls who went to Yale were laid end-to-end, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised.”
Please leave a note in the comments with any other paraprosdokians you know, or with comments on the ones above.