Sunday 11 October 2020

Grammar: Excuse the Pun 3

If you want to look like an amateur, sprinkle your prose with "Excuse the pun!", especially after non-puns.
These are puns:
Be shore of yourself
Come out of your shell
Take time to coast
Avoid pier pressure
Sea life’s beauty
Don’t get tide down
Make waves!

And so are these:
A bra manufacturer has gone bust, a shipping company has gone under, a kitchen appliance maker has gone into liquidation, a kennels has called in the retrievers and a paper company has folded. The florist is pruning its business and the plumbers have gone down the drain. (The Two Ronnies – probably written by Gerald Wiley, aka Ronnie Barker. Or are they over-appropriate metaphors?)

A map showing whale populations declining is captioned “cetacean needed”.

But these aren't:
Within a space of 3 days I've had to replace tyres as 4 long nails miraculously inserted themselves, this morning car was broken into contents thrown all over the place and my coin collection taken. I slowly feel the joy being sucked out of me, pardon the pun. (@JoyTendai. Metaphor, not a pun.)

It was in 1772 when the Pale (not a color, pun intended) of Settlement rule was enacted. (Michael Elgort @just_whatever, in the context of Jews being allegedly white and privileged. "Pale" here means "border", or "enclosed area" and what else could you call it?)

Am getting a bit fed up (pun hahaha) because veganism is fine if you want to but cannot be a solution for everyone. (Via FB If you think puns should be avoided, change to “Am getting a bit weary/tired/annoyed/irritated...”, or start with “Veganism is fine but...” But maybe avoid “cheesed off”.)

Johnson says ‘good chance’ of EU trade deal with ‘a bit of oomph’. (@GaryGibbonBlog)
I can't wait till he suffocates in his own puns. (@WhenIsBirths)
(Slang, not a pun.)

Just as mothers differ in many ways, so can their journey to motherhood. Some women have a plan, and this plan involves marriage, the purchase of a home, a discussion about having children. Then comes conception if you pardon the pun. (FB meme No pun, not even a metaphor unless you mean that “conception” can also mean “having a thought or idea”.)

The investigators seem to get distracted from the murder inquiry by the injection (no pun intended – well, maybe a little bit intended) of a drug-smuggling sub-plot. ( Too-appropriate metaphor. If you're worried about it, change to "introduction".)

Reality always trumps "alternative facts", pun intended: Two more Drumpf campaign staff test positive for COVID after attending Tulsa "rally". (Via FB. It can be awkward using the word "trump" in the context of America's president.)

Ngaio Marsh, with her experience in theatre, sets the stage well (no pun intended), and keeps the reader guessing. (FB on Marsh’s Vintage Murder. Too-appropriate metaphor. How about: "Marsh uses her experience in theatre to create a convincing backstage atmosphere and keep the reader guessing.")

His disability also helps [blind detective] Laing getting to the truth as it prevents him from being fooled by appearances that blind – no pun intended – other people to it. ( How about "appearances that mislead others"?)

This funeral parlour has survived (pun intended) the last 50 years effortlessly. (@SOSBrutalism. Unfortunate metaphor?)

Moving on, Owen Hatherley picks out the London Underground, which itself was no innocent in selling nostalgia with its there-will-always-be-an-Engerland posters advertising “Golders Green: a place of delightful prospects” or “Live in a new neighbourhood – Dollis Hill” with suburban satisfaction only a Tube ride away. Many pages are devoted to the Tube stations... At this point I lost the thread of his main argument but cared not at all as modernism, constructivism and other such “isms” whizzed along. Hatherley mentions in passing that the foremost Tube station designer, Frank Pick (excuse my laboured pun in the first sentence of this paragraph), advised on the Moscow Metro and picked up an Order of Lenin for his troubles.
( I had to look hard for anything resembling a pun – oh, "picks out", when the man behind the Tube's distinctive design was called "Pick".)

The Back to the Future movies are timeless – pun intended! (

More here, and links to the rest.

No comments:

Post a Comment