I've seen this writing style several times, where the most important part of a sentence - or a twist - is put at the end between parentheses. This is typically used in titles and gives the sentence an ironic or cynical tone.


The new ways to lose weight (that don't work)

The car of your dreams exists (but you'll never have it)

A simple recipe for happiness (that nobody follows)

Does this writing style have a name? Which prominent author used it first, if any?

  • 2
    related :is-waynes-worlds-not-a-modern-invention
    – Theta30
    Sep 8 '11 at 8:43
  • 1
    Please, oh please, add the Wayne's World "(not)" to the list of examples.
    – Soviut
    Sep 8 '11 at 9:10
  • I would call this a conscious destruction of irony, subtlety, and nuance. People who practice it are masters of the single entendre.
    – Robusto
    Sep 8 '11 at 12:31
  • I find the parentheses superfluous (or perhaps simply wrong).
    – z7sg Ѫ
    Sep 8 '11 at 14:48
  • 1
    I would call these cracked headlines in that they are extremely popular on the site Cracked.com and generally only found there or in online advertisements and tabloids. Examples from the last week: "6 Terrifying Sci-Fi Predictions (About the Year 1997)" "5 Common Responses to Awkwardness (That Make Things Worse)"
    – tdhsmith
    Sep 8 '11 at 16:10

The rhetorical device of Paraprosdokian may be what you're looking for - it refers to a surprise or unexpected ending of a phrase or series.

*He was at his best when the going was good. (Alistair Cooke on the Duke of Windsor)

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