What fun is a language without some good jokes? A pun is a joke that exploits the different possible meanings of a word or words and turns what you expect someone to say into a joke. I do think that one has to be quick-thinking and a little clever to come up with jokes in general, but a great pun has a reputation of being particularly stupid. Puns are also known as “Dad jokes,” and they’re one of my favorite kinds of jokes.
Excuse the puns this week, and improve your fluency through humor!
Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He’s all right now.
My favorite TV show, Arrested Development, features a character that is a doctor and speaks in puns. Much like this joke, he’s often misunderstood when diagnosing his patients.
This pun plays on the meaning of alright (satisfactory, ok) and all right (patient doesn’t have a left side anymore, so he only has a right side).
I wasn’t going to get a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.
This pun functions on a few different levels. First, it uses the words brain and mind, since you think with your brain, and we also refer to our brain as our mind. It plays with the words transplant and change.
If you get a transplant, you’re replacing one of your body parts with someone else’s body part (think of a heart transplant). So you’re essentially exchanging a part of your body for a new part. You can also change your mind, as in you wanted to go out for pizza, but you decided to go out for burgers instead.
Get it? Okay, not very funny and yes, pretty stupid, but still a great pun!
A friend of mine tried to annoy me with bird puns, but I soon realized that toucan play at that game.
*Ba dum, tss*
Here is a pun that works really well on paper, as you can see the difference in spelling that wouldn’t be as obvious when said out loud. It uses the word toucan (a type of bird) in place of the phrase two can. It’s pronounced the same way, but spelled differently, which is what makes it (hypothetically!) funny.
Two antennae were on a roof. They fell in love and got married. The service wasn’t great, but the reception was excellent.
Do you seem to always have problems with your TV service? Then this great pun is for you!
The two meanings in this pun are with the words service and reception. A TV service is the company that provides the TV programs, and the reception is how well the picture and sound comes through.
The other meaning of service is a wedding ceremony (that the two antennae had when they got married). A religious meeting is often called a service. The reception would be the wedding reception, or party, that’s held after the wedding.
No matter how much you push a piece of paper it’s always stationery.
Are you continually pushing pieces of paper around your desk? I know I am! This is a great pun for all of us paper lovers.
The word stationery (another word for paper, envelopes, etc) and stationary (still, unmoving) sound exactly the same when spoken, which is what makes this great pun work. It’s saying that no matter how much you push a piece of paper around, it stays in it’s paper form, not completed, or always stays unmoving.
What’s your favorite pun? Share what makes you chuckle in the comments below!
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Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, yoga instructor, and would like to personally expand the term “Dad jokes” to “Mom jokes” as well so she can participate one day!