Open main menu

Non sequitur (literary device)

A non-sequitur (English: /ˌnɒnˈsɛkwɪtər/; Classical Latin: [noːn ˈsɛkᶣɪtʊr] "it does not follow") is a conversational and literary device, often used for comedic purposes. It is something said that, because of its apparent lack of meaning relative to what preceded it,[1] seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing.

This use of the term is distinct from the non-sequitur in logic, where it is a fallacy.

Contents

EtymologyEdit

The expression is Latin for "it does not follow."[2] It comes from the words "non" meaning not, and the deponent verb sequor, sequi, secutus sum meaning 'to follow'. Deponent verbs have passive forms but active meanings.[3]

UsageEdit

A non-sequitur can denote an abrupt, illogical, or unexpected turn in plot or dialogue by including a relatively inappropriate change in manner. A non-sequitur joke sincerely has no explanation, but it reflects the idiosyncrasies, mental frames and alternative world of the particular comic persona.[4]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. Oxford University Press, 2009.
  2. ^ Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary. http://mw1.m-w.com/dictionary/non%20sequitur
  3. ^ "The Latin Library "Deponent Verbs"" (PDF). 
  4. ^ Chambers, Robert (2010). Parody: The Art that Plays with Art. Peter Lang Publishers. p. 75. ISBN 978-1433108693. Retrieved 2014-09-17. Along with a rhythmic pattern, these jokes, however absurd they may be, build dual frames of reference, if not alternative worlds entirely reflecting the idiosyncrasies of the individual stand-up artist. 

External linksEdit