English Puns (aka ‘Dad Jokes’)
A pun /ˈpʌn/ is a play on words for comic effect, often highlighting their pronunciation, so it’s safe to say we like a good pun at Pronunciation Studio. Here are a few of our favourites that will hopefully make you laugh, but will more likely make you cringe:
“A man just attacked me with milk, cream and butter. I mean, how dairy!”
“I’m on a seafood diet. Every time I see food, I eat it!”
“I want to make a joke about Sodium, but… Na.”
“Did you hear about the Roman cannibal whose wife disappeared? He said he was glad he ate her.”
“Atheism, the non-prophet organisation.”
“Did you hear about the guy whose left side was cut off? He’s all right now.”
“What time do you have to go to the dentist?”
The time ‘two thirty’ is pronounced as a homophone with ‘tooth hurtie’, as it would be in connected speech: /ˌtuːθ ˈɜːti/. The ‘h’ in ‘hurtie’ isn’t heard clearly whether you pronounce it or not, as the voiceless fricative /θ/ is directly before it.
“When you get a bladder infection, you know urine trouble.”
“I just went to an emotional wedding. Even the cake was in tiers.”
“Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.”
Perhaps the most famous of all puns, this by Groucho Marx plays on the homonym (both a homograph and a homophone) of the word ‘flies’ pronounced /ˈflaɪz/ which is both the verb ‘to fly’ in the third person, and the noun ‘fly’ in its plural form. It also plays on different uses of the word ‘like’ which is a preposition in the first sentence and a verb in the second.
“Reading while sunbathing will make you well read.”
Unfortunately, puns are particularly popular with middle aged men, who have a unique brand of pun called a ‘dad joke’. These are generally highly predictable and nearly always produce a sigh of disapproval in the poor listener. In fact, dad jokes are like jokes about paper, they’re tearable.
We apologise for the puns in this article, please post better ones in the comments section below.
This article uses English IPA symbols – learn each of them with pronunciation notes, diagrams and audio in Pronunciation Studio’s free Starter Pack.