Jokes In English: Puns

Get ready for some humorous pun-ishment.

Learning about jokes in English is a very difficult process for English as a foreign language learners. Not only does “what is considered funny” vary across cultures, English speakers will often “play” with the words, using words that sound the same to create new meaning, or in this case, a joke.

Some may ask, “Isn’t that an idiom?”.  Well, not exactly.  An idiom is a group of words have a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

Example: “Over the moon”

This phrase means “extremely happy or delighted.”  The listener has no way of understanding the phrase from the words alone, unless you know the historical/ cultural context, or are familiar with the usage.

A pun is a play on words, usually intended to be humorous.  A pun uses the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Example: “Have you ever tried to eat a clock? It’s very time consuming.”

In this case, time consuming means both “taking a long time” and physically “eating time.”

Whether you find puns funny is really all about your personal sense of humour; puns generally wont have people laughing hysterically out loud, but will usually get a “groan” or a chuckle from someone in the group.

Here is a list of 25 puns.  Can you figure out their meanings?

  1. I changed my iPod name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.
  2. Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
  3. I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.
  4. This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.
  5. I’m reading a book about anti-gravity . I can’t put it down.
  6. I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.
  7. They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type- O.
  8. Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s no pop quiz.
  9. I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.
  10. How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it!
  11. How do trees get online? – They just log in.
  12. When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.
  13. Broken pencils are pointless.
  14. I tried to catch some fog. I mist.
  15. What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
  16. England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool .
  17. I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
  18. I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
  19. All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.
  20. I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
  21. Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
  22. I lost my job at the bank on my very first day.  A woman asked me to check her balance, so I pushed her over.
  23. 6:30 is the best time on a clock… hands down.
  24. I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.
  25. The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar… It was tense.

Have questions about these puns or have some of your own to share?  Leave a comment on the form below.

By James

I'm the creator of the 3A Hospitality English Program and Co-Founder of I lived and taught in China for a few years and am currently back in BC, Canada. Thanks for joining us here, I hope we can learn some cool new things together!