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Is there a name for this type of sentence structure: “She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say 'when'”?

Is there a term for sentences which are an altered form of a famous quote, the alteration being a change in the second part of it for humor?


To err is human, to forgive is not a company policy.

A bird in hand might sh*t on your wrist.

People living in glass houses should use public restrooms.

If you can keep your head when everyone around you are losing theirs, you're probably the executioner.

I remember there was a term for such sentences but cannot recall. What is it?

EDIT: I also remember: It's not just with famous quotes — any sentence which sounds normal at first, but has an unexpected ending to it which compels you to re-read the first part, is also classified as the same thing.

  • 1
    See this related question: english.stackexchange.com/questions/14949/…
    – JLG
    May 17, 2012 at 16:55
  • There is no such word as ∗theirs’, as theirs is already a possessive personal pronoun.
    – tchrist
    May 17, 2012 at 16:56
  • @JLG thanks for the link! the word is paraprosdokian. May 17, 2012 at 16:59
  • @tchrist corrected! May 17, 2012 at 16:59


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