Grandma's Tales

June 17, 2007

Grammar – 36 A pun can be fun!

Filed under: Language — Geeta Padmanabhan @ 7:03 am

Shakespeare used it a lot. “I’ll show my mettle” said one of his characters. “Mettle” stood for “metal” meaning money and “mettle” also means ability. You can see it is apt for a merchant to say that. This is a pun on the word “mettle”.
A pun has been described as  the lowest form of humour. You take a word and build a situation around it. A word that sounds similar to your original word is equally apt for that situation.  You crack the two meanings and laugh your head off.  You have caught the fun! Here is a set of puns that Basab Pradhan forwarded to me. Happy cracking!

The ability to make and understand PUNS is the highest level of language development. Here are the top winners in the International Pun Contest:
1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The Stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”
2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, “Dam!”
3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.
4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says, “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says, “Are you sure?” The first replies “Yes, I’m positive.”
5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.
6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. “But why?”, they asked, as they moved off. “Because,” he said, “I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

 Ok, if you didn’t catch up with all of them, here are the answers. [1] carrion-dead animal / carry-on-hand baggage [2]  dam / damn [3]  The pun is on the  saying, “You can’t eat your cake (kayak) and eat (heat) it too”. [4]  Check out the word “positive”, as opposed to “negative” charge. [5] “Transcend (go beyond) dental medication” sounds like “transcedental meditation” a form of meditation practised by monks. [6] Have you heard the famous Christmas song “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”? These guys were chess enthusiasts, right? So the last part “chess-nuts boasting on the open foyer (the front part of the hotel) is a take on that proverb.


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