What’s a pun?
A pun is an amusing use of a word or phrase that has more than one meaning or that sounds like another word. A very popular pun is the one in our clip.
For puns to work, words have to be similar in spelling, sound or meaning, such as homophones, homonyms and homographs.
I.Homophones are pairs of words that sound the same but have different meanings and are spelled differently. Understanding homophones is an essential part of mastering the English language. Here’s an example of a couple of homophones that get mixed up quite often:
Affect is a verb (in most cases) and indicates influence.
Effect is a noun (in most cases) and is the result of an action or change.
A: How does that affect you?
B: It doesn’t. It has no effect on my decision.
To can be a preposition or infinitive when used with a verb.
Too is an adverb or a synonym for also.
A: I like to dance!
B: I like to dance, too!
You’re is a contraction for you are.
Your is a pronoun.
A: You’re very kind to me!
B: Your family is very kind to me, too!
II.Homonyms are two words that are spelled the same and sound the same but have different meanings.
A nice example is “book,” which can mean “a thing with pages to read” or “the act of making a reservation.” The sound and spelling are identical, however, the meanings of each individual word are different.
bark – a tree’s layer / the sound a dog makes
A: The bark of this tree is really dark.
B: As dark as the bark of that dog over there.
kind – type / caring
A: What kind of person is he?
B: He is a very kind person!
III. A homograph is usually a pair of words spelled the same way which may or may not be pronounced the same way. The difference in the pronunciation of the word is often just a shift in the accented syllable.
desert – a hot, sandy region / to leave
evening – very late afternoon / making more even
An example in German would be:
Lieber arm dran, als Arm ab.
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