Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there a term or word appropriate to describe the trick of using a general term and then explicitly adding a specific term to strongly imply that the specific is not part of the general? The trick I see never uses a negation or a word like "except." It simply "adds" something at the end as a slight or insult to the thing being added:

My classes are filled with really smart people. And John.

Before you are the best and most clever and most attractive and Susan.

share|improve this question

4 Answers 4

up vote 29 down vote accepted

TV Tropes call it "My Friends And Zoidberg" trope:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MyFriendsAndZoidberg

A standard comedy trope which, at its core, takes the form:

"Group A ... and Bob."

It is often expanded to mention two or more groups:

"Ladies, Gentlemen ... and Bob."

In either version, Bob is already expected to be among the group(s) in question, but is singled out as if he's not, usually at Bob's expense;

This can be Played for Laughs in cases where it's literally impossible for Bob not to be a member of the groups mentioned.

It can also be used to deliver a Stealth Insult: "We welcome members of all professions, and lawyers." Or, inverted, it can even deliver a compliment: "You morons, and Bob."

share|improve this answer
24  
poor mrhen, linked to tvtropes. say goodbye to your productivity –  jhocking Apr 21 '11 at 17:01
    
I accepted this as it does exactly describe the trick. If, by any chance, someone finds a one word term I will move the little checkmark over there. –  MrHen Apr 22 '11 at 13:07
    
@Sejanus: Which fact suggests that there's no term for it, since they just used a placeholder example. Their Laconic page calls it "[e]xclusion via [particular] mention". –  Mechanical snail Jun 7 '12 at 7:33
1  
@jhocking No kidding. I've spent three hours or more on the site on at least a few occasions. It's semi-chaotically organized and there is so much internal linking. You may well travel back in time. –  shinyspoongod Jun 19 '12 at 8:43

This may be another example of a paraprosdokian. See this answer.

share|improve this answer
2  
I think you're right, but this is really a specific kind of paraprosdokian that deserves its own name. Thank goodness for tvtropes. –  senderle Apr 22 '11 at 4:09

I would call it a sentence fragment the way you have it there. "And Gary." is not a sentence. You definitely need the ellipses there:

"I am friends with many manly men... and Gary."

"My classes are filled with many smart people... and John."

In the form above it's definitely a paraprosdokian as R

share|improve this answer
4  
Actually, I disagree. While it most certainly is a sentence fragment it serves a very specific purpose and I wouldn't write my prime example any other way. –  MrHen Apr 22 '11 at 13:09
2  
Ellipses should almost never be used. And certainly not here. –  tchrist Jun 7 '12 at 12:58

This is a specific type of stealth insult.

share|improve this answer
    
Stealth insult was mentioned 13 months before in Sejanus's answer –  jwpat7 Jul 26 '12 at 23:38

protected by Jasper Loy Jun 7 '12 at 11:49

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.