Pun fun

My husband is a nuts and bolts kind of guy. He can fix anything or come up with an innovative solution to make the work easier or the process more efficient. He’s passionate about his tools and has a roll-away full (and neatly arranged) so that he can find and use the right tool for the job.

In a similar way, writers are passionate about words. We lexophiles (lovers of words) relish the nuances of meaning and employ various literary devices and figures of speech to achieve our purposes. One of my favorite figures of speech is the pun or paronomasia. This play on words uses deliberate confusion of similar words or phrases to create either a humorous or serious metaphorical effect. Puns rely on the apparent similarity of words (homonymy) or various tones one word might convey (polysemy).  Though serious authors like Shakespeare often used puns in their works, most today enjoy the more humorous uses of this device.

In this example, “A chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion,” the play on words comes from using poultry instead of poetry. I must admit, I like reading puns but lack the talent to develop my own. Like anything else, it requires practice, and hmmm, trying my hand at it might even be a cure for writer’s block.

A friend of mine sent me an email this week with Punographics in the subject line and when I opened it, I laughed out loud at the clever examples he’d enclosed. Some of them are included with these puns. I hope they’ll kick start your weekend with a smile.

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