Tag Archives: paradox

#ENGCLASS: PARADOX

Two days ago, we talked about oxymoron, which is a figure of speech that is made of two or more words with contradictory meaning. If you want to read the article on oxymoron, CLICK HERE.

Today, we are going to talk about its sibling, paradox. Both have similar features and are often mixed up.

Penrose triangle (picture by Wikipedia)

What is a paradox? The word paradox came from Latin word ‘paradoxum’, which came from Greek word ‘paradoxon’, which means ‘contrary to expectation.’

Just as an oxymoron, a paradox is also a figure of speech. Furthermore, it is a rhetorical device that seems to contradict itself, but actually has some truth to it.

Does this confuse you, fellas? To put it simply, a paradox is a statement that is logical but contrary to our expectation.

Example:

  1. “The only constant thing is change (Indonesian: satu-satunya hal yang tidak pernah berubah adalah perubahan).”
    Explanation: nothing in life is constant, except change. Change happens all the time, to everything, and to everyone, which makes it constant.
  2. “Failure leads to success (Indonesian: kegagalan adalah sukses yang tertunda).”
    Explanation: by failing over and over again, it means we keep trying and it might mean that someday we will be successful.
  3. “Social media brought us apart and brought us together (Indonesian: media sosial mendekatkan yang jauh dan menjauhkan yang dekat).”
    Explanation: focusing on social media often makes us ignore the people who are physically present around us.
  4. “The more you learn, the less you know (Indonesian: seperti padi, semakin berisi, semakin merunduk).”
    Explanation: the more knowledgeable we are, the more we will realise that there are so many things of which we have little knowledge.
  5. “The enemy of my enemy is my friend (Indonesian: musuh dari musuh saya adalah sekutu saya).”
    Explanation: meeting another enemy could easily make someone our enemy, too, but sometimes they can become our friend out of a mutual dislike towards someone else.

How do paradox and oxymoron differ?
How do we differentiate a paradox and an oxymoron when we see them in a sentence? The key is to remember that an oxymoron is made of words that have opposite meanings, while a paradox is a collection of words that contradicts itself. Check our sources below for complete reading.

Source:
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/paradox
https://www.dictionary.com/e/paradox-oxymoron/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox
https://tom-stevenson.medium.com/13-paradoxes-you-can-use-to-improve-your-life-today-b32d7dca4e0f

Do you have a favourite paradox, fellas? Share it with us.

Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Saturday, 21 November 2020.

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