Paraprosdokian and Diazeugma—Do What?

Posted on July 9, 2019 by Miranda B

Sometimes you see a grammatical term that turns your head on its side. Take paraprosdokian and diazeugma. New to the paraprosdokian and diazeugma literary devices? These are some clever twists that have been happening since Shakespeare. See how you can transform your content to be more creative with a sprinkle of paraprosdokian and a bit of diazeugma in the works.

Paraprosdokian it All!

A paraprosdokian is what happens when you use a figure of speech in the first half of a sentence, and then twist the reader’s tongue with another. My son has a T-shirt that exhibits this well. It reads, “Frog parking only, all others will be toad.” Want more of these paraprosdokians? Here are 11 paraprosdokians, 37 paraprosdokians, and a whopping 182 paraprosdokians to get your whistle wet.

Did you Diazeugma?

Diazeugma! No, I did not sneeze. A diazeugma is exactly what you would think. A diagram involving grammar…dia..g…ma…ok, maybe that’s stretching it a little too far. All you need to know is that a diazeugma is a string of verbs tagging along with a single subject.

A diazeugma in action—Writers love, live, laugh, get lit, and write about it all.

When you are diazeugma-ing you are making the most of your verbiage and verbs. One of the most famous writers to use diazeugma in a deliberate way was Walt Whitman. Read “Miracles” as follows to see the diazeugma flow:

“As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,

Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,

Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,

Or wade with naked feet along the beach, just in the edge of the water,

Or stand under trees in the woods,

Or talk by day with any one I love—or sleep in the bed at night with any one I love,

Or sit at table at dinner with my mother,

Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,

Or watch honey-bees busy around the hive, of a summer forenoon,

Or animals feeding in the fields,

Or birds—or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,

Or the wonderfulness of the sun-down—or of stars shining so quiet and bright,

Or the exquisite, delicate, thin curve of the new moon in spring;

Or whether I go among those I like best, and that like me best—mechanics, boatmen, farmers…”

Continue reading for the rest of the poem.

Challenge Your Creative Writing Muscles

For more ways to stimulate your creativity, check out the WriterAccess creative blog spot.

 

“Welcome. I’m the Whispering Wordsmith of the Woods, An Old Man Willow type cunning the lit forest, Disrupting textbookish writers with grammar snaps and cracks.” As a professional web content writer for small-to-medium businesses, Miranda B understands how to effectively balance technical jargon and personal brand messaging. Her content is sticky, evergreen when expected to be, and always creative. Keep ’em coming back for more, that’s Miranda’s motto.


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