What is the difference between a paradox and an oxymoron?

Paradoxes and oxymorons both involve contradictions, but there is a key difference:

  • A paradox is a complete statement or scenario that seems self-contradictory but reveals a thought-provoking truth upon further examination (e.g., “The only constant in life is change”).
  • An oxymoron is a figure of speech consisting of a short phrase that combines contradictory terms for rhetorical effect (e.g., “alone together”).