English Grammar Basic Grammar and syntax

What is a paradox? (meaning and examples)

What is a paradox? (Meaning and examples)

A paradox is a statement or concept that is, or appears to be, self-contradictory.

Easy Examples of Paradox

  • I always lie.
    (This statement is absolutely self-contradictory. If it’s true, then it’s not true. This would be accepted as a paradox in the field of Logic.)
  • You can save money by spending it.
    (The idea seems self-contradictory, but it’s possibly true. For example, spending money insulating your roof would reduce heating bills.)

Real-Life Examples of“Everyday“Paradox

The following examples seem contradictory, but they are not. (Paradoxical expressions that appear self-contradictory but are not are often described as“everyday paradox“instead of“logical paradox“.) These are examples of“everyday paradox“:

  • To shut down your computer, first click Start.
  • You have to be cruel to be kind.
  • Less is more.
  • When you increase your knowledge, you understand how little you know.
    (In essence, your unknown unknowns become known unknowns.)

Real-Life Examples of“Logical“Paradox

The following examples are absolutely contradictory. Are examples of“logical paradox“.

  • My nose will grow. (Pinocchio)
  • If you didn’t get this message, call me.
  • Your mission is to not accept this mission? Do you accept?
  • No keyboard detected. Press F1 to continue.
  • Youth would be an ideal state if it came a little later in life. (Prime Minister Herbert Asquith)

An Oxymoron Is a Paradox

Un oxímoron (un término aparentemente contradictorio) es una paradoja (normalmente una paradoja“everyday“).

  • female gunman
  • fresh raises
  • bittersweet
  • escaped prisoner

Why Should I Care About Paradoxes?

A paradoxical expression that seems contradictory but isn’t can be powerful and memorable, forcing readers to discover for themselves why its seemingly contradictory idea is true.

  • We must go backwards to go forwards.
    (This is a memorable way of delivering a message like“we must align our old processes to the new methodology“or“we must rethink our strategy“.)


  • Stating your idea as a seemingly contradictory concept will make it more memorable by forcing your readers to think about why your idea isn’t one.“logical paradox“.

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