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.

4 Answers 4


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


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."

  • 25
    poor mrhen, linked to tvtropes. say goodbye to your productivity
    – jhocking
    Apr 21, 2011 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, 2011 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". Jun 7, 2012 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.
    – user19589
    Jun 19, 2012 at 8:43

This may be another example of a paraprosdokian. See 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, 2011 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

  • 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, 2011 at 13:09
  • 2
    Ellipses should almost never be used. And certainly not here.
    – tchrist
    Jun 7, 2012 at 12:58

This is a specific type of stealth insult.

  • Stealth insult was mentioned 13 months before in Sejanus's answer Jul 26, 2012 at 23:38

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