What did the grape say when it was crushed? Nothing! It just let out a little wine.
Did you get the joke?
How about this one?
I was struggling to figure out how lightning works then it struck me.
If you got the humour, that is good! However, can you explain why these are FUNNY? It all has to do with…PUNS !
A pun or paronomasia is a form of wordplay which takes advantage of words, or similar sounding words with multiple meanings, to create a humorous situation or joke.
Puns can sometimes be created unintentionally, in which case the saying ‘no pun intended’ is used, like in the example given below:
2 detectives surveying a crime scene
Detective 1: Looks like he drowned in this vat of refrigerated blood at the slaughterhouse!
Detective 2: Really? Was he killed in cold blood?
Types of Puns
Homophonic puns, where one word has been substituted for another similar sounding word. The two jokes above (“wine” versus “whine”) use such puns to create humour.
Homographic puns, which play on words that are spelled identically but possess different meanings or are pronounced differently. Example: The motorist said to the policeman, “Why can’t I park my car here? The sign says, ‘Fine for parking.’”
Compound puns, which are created by using a string of two or more words that sound similar to a different string of words. Example: “Why would a man never starve in the desert? Because he can eat the sand which is there.”
Puns, Puns Everywhere!
Many famous authors have used puns in their writing. William Shakespeare was a master of the pun. Oscar Wilde, another renowned playwright, once boasted that there was no subject he could not create a pun on.
J.K. Rowling also relied extensively on puns to create clever names in the Harry Potter series of books in order to entertain her more perceptive readers.
Remember Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley? Or the most unforgivable curse, Avada Kedavra?
For those who are scratching their heads, Diagon Alley = Diagonally and Knockturn Alley = Nocturnally, while Avada Kedavra is a play on two words, “abracadabra” and “cadaver”.
Newspapers also often use puns to create catchy headlines which immediately grab the reader’s attention. In some instances, such cleverly-worded headlines can also lighten an otherwise serious situation.
In the Classroom
Since the appreciation of puns requires at times an extensive vocabulary, many English teachers use funny punning games to instil a love for the language.
Why couldn’t the bike stand up by itself?
It was two tired.
What are you waiting for? Create your own puns today!