Two [grammatical concepts] walk into a bar …

My (younger) brother sent this to me via Facebook and I am quite certain you’ll enjoy it. When I took a stab at finding the original post, I found that this list of jokes has been published lots and lots of times, so you may have seen it before. If so, I bet you still enjoy revisiting it. Here is a tiny handful of my favorites. but click through for the full list, which is way more extensive:

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite.

Hyperbole totally rips into this insane bar and absolutely destroys everything.

A mixed metaphor walks into a bar, seeing the handwriting on the wall but hoping to nip it in the bud.

Three intransitive verbs walk into a bar. They sit. They converse. They depart.

Falling slowly, softly falling, the chiasmus collapses to the bar floor.

I had to look up “chiasmus.” I mean, it’s clear from context, but I’ve never heard the term before, as far as I can remember. According to Google:


  1. a rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form; e.g. ‘Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.’.

As I said, obvious from context. But had any of you encountered the term before?

This is three new-to-me words in two days — xyresic and fasciculating and now chiasmus. That’s an unusual frequency of new-to-me words!

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4 thoughts on “Two [grammatical concepts] walk into a bar …”

  1. I’ve run across chiasmus in analyses of Hebrew literary structures.

    Without that I would have guessed something to do with X/Greek letter chi.

  2. Lots of chiasmus in the Psalms, that I studied many many years ago. It is named after the greek letter X, because that’s the shape of the structure. A really short example is Matthew 6:24.
    A No one can serve two masters,
    B for either he will hate the one
    C and love the other,
    C′ or he will be devoted to the one
    B′ and despise the other.
    A′ You cannot serve God and money.

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