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A pun is a play on words that usually plays on similarities of spelling and/or pronunciation between words that different meanings. A pun could also utilize a word that has several different meanings. Puns have been used since classic literature, and they were of popular use by Renaissance scholars, poets, and playwrights. Puns are often used for comedy and humor, but they can also completely change the meaning of a text. They can change how an audience reads and interprets the text, depending on the culture in which the pun is being used and the culture reading the work. Puns may come from words being employed with the opposite meaning. They can draw from the subject at hand, making a pun about the subject by using a part of it.
There are a few categories of puns. One category is homographic puns: these puns use words that are spelled the same but sound different. These puns work well in writing rather than vocally. There are also homophonic puns. These puns use homonyms, or words of similar sounds, with different meanings and play on those different meanings. A homonymic pun involves words that are spelled the same and sounds the same but takes on different meanings through context. There are recursive puns as well, which are puns that forces the first part of the joke to understand and inform the later part of the joke. A compound is a pun that has more than one play on words, or is a pun that builds into yet another pun that follows it.
A pun does not necessarily constitute a joke. A pun requires wordplay to occur. While some jokes may use wordplay, some do not.
For instance, the following is a joke that is also a pun:
What do you call cheese that is not yours?
The joke is pun because “nacho” sounds similar to “Not your.” This happens to be both a pun and a joke.
Shakespeare employs many puns in his works.
The following examples are puns from Shakespeare’s works.
From Romeo and Juliet:
“Tomorrow, you shall find me a grave man.”
The pun arises from the fact that the character, Mercutio, is dying as he is saying this. Therefore, the pun comes on the play of the word “grave.” Grave means alarming and serious in manner, but it also refers to the ground where dead bodies are placed and marked. Since Mercutio is dying, the pun comes from the evocation of both meanings as they fit the situation.
From Much Ado About Nothing:
“The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well: but civil, count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.”
The pun arises from the use of the word orange. There is a type of orange that is bitter in taste. The count is as civil as a bitter orange, which means he is not very civil at all. That makes his complexion one of jealousy bitterness. The pun comes from the use of the orange, as well as its juxtaposition against civility.
From Romeo and Juliet:
“Give me a torch; I am not for this ambling.
Being but heavy, I will bear the light.”
The pun here comes from the idea of lightness and darkness, as well as lightness and heaviness. The word “light” plays on both the word “torch,” being another form of the word, and the word “heavy,” being the opposite. You can also think of “heavy” as a heaviness of mood and the “light” being a lightness of mood. Shakespeare manages, in these two lines, to provide two puns from the single word “light.”
This bundle contains 5 ready-to-use pun worksheets that are perfect to test student knowledge and understanding of what a pun is and how it can be used. You can use these pun worksheets in the classroom with students, or with home schooled children as well.
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Link will appear as Pun Examples and Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 5, 2017
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.