Two Bad Jokes

rogersgeorge on October 20th, 2017

But they’re about language, so I guess it’s okay. First the pun. It’s the last word in the comic.

And that leads to the less jokey joke, use of a figure of speech that we call alliteration. Alliteration is when you start two or more words with the same letter. The Peter Piper tongue twister is a good example of alliteration. The fewer non-matching words you have, the better the alliteration is considered to be, and the non-matching words should never be emphasized. So this comic is a decent example of alliteration.

It’s still bad, though. But I like it. Thank you, Stephen Beals.

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Visual Puns

rogersgeorge on August 4th, 2017

Good old Bob Thaves, the master of puns. Here’s his latest:

Now a too-simple quiz: Why are those two letters an F and an E?

By the way, most asterisks have five or six pedals, not eight. They are called pedals, right?

Two Ways to do a Pun

rogersgeorge on July 14th, 2017

I was going to continue with serious lessons, but today I ran into two comics that are not only both on the same topic, but they illustrate one of the finer points of punning.

Type 1: When the pronunciation of the misused words is the same,

Crankshaft - 07/13/2017

Type 2: When the pronunciation is almost the same,

Take It From The Tinkersons - 07/13/2017

Which reminds me of my sister’s favorite pun, which goes something like this: “I thought that was water dripping from your nose, but it’s not.”

She has a fiendish laugh to go with it.

Two Kinds of Puns

rogersgeorge on January 16th, 2017

Several people have been credited with saying that puns are the lowest form of humor, but I suspect that’s because they couldn’t think of any themselves. Anyway, exact homonyms, words spelled differently but pronounced the same, are the fodder for the good kind of pun; slightly mispronounced words make the other kind of pun. Here’s a comic (Soup to Nutz) from January 11 with the good kind:

Stephan Pastis, he of Pearls before Swine is pretty good at producing the other kind. That’s him wrapped with dynamite.

A Figure of Speech

rogersgeorge on April 19th, 2016

Some time ago I mentioned synechdoche. It’s when you mention part of something to refer to all of it. For instance, cattlemen say “forty head of cattle.” They’re not counting trophies in their parlor. Synechdoche also works in reverse, when you mention the whole thing but mean only a part. You might mention a city, for example, when you really mean only its professional athletic team. Something like “Chicago won the World Series.” By the way, synecdoche is pronounced sin-ek-duck-ee.

Both of these are special cases of a more general figure of speech, metonymy, when you mention something but mean something related to it. They don’t necessarily have to be part or the whole. This comic, from April 4, 2016 reminded me of metonymy:


Old Bill and his writings are two completely different things. Metonomy. I’m so used to referring to a (famous) person’s writings by the person’s name that I hadn’t thought of it as a figure of speech. So I thought I’d share it with you. Frank and Ernest, by the way, is an excellent comic if you like puns and malaprops.

For the finalé, here’s a line I grabbed from the Los Angeles Times. It contains two synecdoches. Can you find both?

Connecticut defeated Syracuse, 82-51, in the NCAA championship game Tuesday in Indianapolis for its fourth consecutive NCAA title.

Why isn’t “Indianapolis” a synecdoche?