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Part of the 'Essential things everyone should know but don't know they should know' project
Also, as you would expect, this article has, like, all the puns. So... if puns make you cringe, just leave right now.

A pun is a joke that uses a play on words. It is the type of grammatical error that has me lost for words, and using one is like having sex as a nun - you turn out having a dirty habit. But it's not the only joke form people worship; jokes about eggs never fail to crack me up, while those about the ocean have me all at sea. Contrary to other jokes, it is punbelievable that anybody could misunderstand one.

Puns have been around since the creation of the earth, so let us observe their groundwork. If we dig a little deeper, we can get to the foundations of their movements, and finally set them in stone. One tends to relate a pun to the theme of the conversation, or create a lexical set of words which either have a partial link to the theme, or none at all (if you are really good). Here are a few of the circumstances in which the rumblings of a pun may occur, and all erupt in laughter:

  • Awful chat up lines: 'Do you have a map? I'm lost in your eyes'
  • The boyfriend of a rich girl offers to help her aristocratic parents cook; dropping an egg and cracking it, he smooths over the occasion: 'Oh! Smashing.'
  • At a public speaking event the speaker, no less than Calvin Hartley, finishes his speech on Lycophagus Syndrome. The unfortunate expresser of thanks glosses over a two minute commentary by replying: 'Well! That speech had me lost-for-words!'
  • Describing one's job: 'You just don't know how much pressure there is being an underwater diving expert'
  • Being a police officer, making an arrest of a graffiti artist: 'Well the writing's on the wall...'
  • Berating the disabled: 'Want a hand?' (Not recommended)


The use of puns has become near universal, but is not always appropriate. However, academic essays and speeches ought to be full of them:

The Cold War, often described as the winter of the twentieth century, was a time of bitter relations and icy conduct. The atmosphere was as thick as the snow in Moscow, because both countries were poles apart when it came to foreign policy. After the thawing of the Second World War, liberations snowballed into an avalanche of communist uprisings and a blizzard of funds from the west in retaliation. However, this is the tip of the iceberg, because there were a hail of other reasons as to why the Cold War reached its eventual peak.

Below will soon be a list of indispensable puns for the reader's education. After all, you don't learn this at school.

  1. I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.
  2. Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.
  3. I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.
  4. I'm glad I know sign language, it's pretty handy.
  5. It's not that the man did not know how to juggle, he just didn't have the balls to do it.
  6. I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.
  7. I used to have a fear of hurdles, but I got over it.
  8. There was a sign on the lawn at a drug re-hab center that said 'Keep off the Grass'.
  9. Did you hear about the guy who got hit in the head with a can of soda? He was lucky it was a soft drink.
  10. There was once a cross-eyed teacher who couldn't control his pupils.
  11. The ancient Romans only gathered once a week, because that was enough forum.
  12. I did a theatrical performance about puns. Really it was just a play on words.
  13. The man who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.
  14. A relief map shows where the restrooms are.
  15. When Peter Pan punches, they Neverland.
  16. If towels could tell jokes they would probably have a dry sense of humor.
  17. I wrote a novel about a fellow who had a small garden. It didn't have much of a plot.
  18. The roundest knight at king Arthur's round table was Sir Cumference.
  19. Some people's noses and feet are built backwards: their feet smell and their noses run.
  20. Smaller babies may be delivered by stork but the heavier ones need a crane.