Sunday, June 22, 2014

Q & A: What’s So Punny?

By Kimberly Johnson
I’m always looking for a good laugh. I tried watching Last Comic Standing on NBC. I parked my remote on the Comedy Central with no results. I found my funny a couple of Sundays ago via Youtube. CBS Sunday Morning featured the 37th O. Henry Pun-Off Championships (It was a free event, 11a -3p). Reporter Lee Cowan traveled to Austin, Texas to interview entrants and the 2014 winner Alexandra Petri. (She made puns of every US president in chronological order).

In Romania I made hotel reservations. I was so tired I had to BUCHAREST.

I’ll admit it—I’m not well-versed on puns. So, I decided to go on a fact-finding mission:

Q: What is a pun?
A: Informal definition: A play on words and their meaning. Formal definition: A joke exploiting the possible meanings of a word.
Function: A pun shapes how the reader interprets the text.

The pigs were a squeal.

Q: Are there different types of puns?
A: Yes. Homophonic puns feature word pairs that sound alike but have different meanings. Homographic puns spotlight words that have the same spelling but have a different sound and connotation. Homonymic puns use words which are homophones and homographs. A compound pun uses two or more puns at a time.

Nothing makes me SYCAMORE than some guy using all those cheezy pickup lines like a DOGWOOD.

Q: Who uses a pun and why?
A: A writer can demonstrate a character’s quick wit. William Shakespeare is a famous punster.
“Winter of our discontent” was “made glorious summer by this Son [son] of York.” (Richard III)

How to be a punster?
Listen closely when your friends are talking. Find a play on words that you can use to construct your pun. Keep it in the context of the conversation.

Want more information? Try the O. Henry Pun-Off website, It features cool stuff like Noose You Can Use and Punslingers.



Obat ace maxs said...

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Laura Puccia Valtorta said...

"You'll never get a head, but you could use one." My dad to his children.