Fun English: Increase Your Vocabulary with Puns (Jokes with Double Meanings)

Here at Real Life English, we like to engage the right side of your brain (the side that's creative and imaginative) with fun English. 

The teaching style of most traditional language schools are very left brain (logical and analytical).

Now, there's nothing wrong with teaching and learning from the left brain, but it's only using half of your brain!

Obviously, for optimal learning, we want to use the entire brain.

And the best way to learn anything is by enjoying the process. It doesn't matter how effective something is if it's so boring you stop doing it.

So today, we're going to focus on some fun english—learning vocabulary with puns.

Puns are jokes that use words that have different possible meanings or words that sound alike but have different meanings (called homophones).

In order to understand the joke, you need to be aware of both of the meanings that the word(s) can have.

You'll notice that puns often use phrasal verbs, expressions, and collocations. As such, it can be a fun way to improve these aspects of your English.

For your convenience, the part of the joke with the double meaning has been bolded with the two meanings defined below.

Let's get started!

Fun English: Puns

1. I wondered why the tennis ball was getting bigger, then it hit me.

  • It hit me can also mean "I suddenly remembered/realized."

2. Did you hear about the guy whose whole left side was cut off? He's all right now.

  • He's all right can mean "he has no left side," or it can mean "he's fine."

3. I'm reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.

  • It's impossible to put down can mean "I'm unable to place it on a surface (because of anti-gravity)," or it can mean "the book is so good you I can't stop reading it."

4. If you don't believe in oral sex, keep your mouth shut.

  • Keep your mouth shut can also mean "don't say anything."

5. I couldn't quite remember how to throw a boomerang, but eventually it came back to me.

  • Come back can mean "to return" or "to remember."

6. I used to have a fear of hurdles, but I got over it.

  • To get over something can mean "to jump over" or "to stop worrying."
  • A hurdle is an obstacle, or a frame that runners must jump over (see photo).

7. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

  • A prophet is a spiritual teacher, a nonprofit is a type of business known as a charity.

8. When William joined the army he disliked the phrase 'fire at will'.

  • Fire at will is a phrase used in the army meaning "shoot whenever you want to." Fire at WIll (with a capital W) means to shoot at William (Will is short for William).

9. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

  • To look into can mean "to look through a small hole, crack, etc." or it can mean "to investigate."

10. If sex is a pain in the ass, then you're doing it wrong...

  • A pain in the ass can mean "a discomfort in your butt" or it can mean "something that annoys you."

11. A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.

  • Two-tired can mean it has two tires or that it is too tired (exhausted)

12. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.

  • With fruit flies, "flies" can either be a verb or a noun. As a verb flies means "to travel through the air" as a noun, fruit flies "are a type of insect/bug that eats fruit."

13. Sleeping comes so naturally to me, I could do it with my eyes closed.

  • If you can do something with your eyes closed, it can also mean "it's super easy."

14. I used to be addicted to soap, but I'm clean now.

  • Clean can mean "there's no dirt," or it can mean someone "no longer uses drugs."

15. When the cannibal showed up late to lunch, they gave him the cold shoulder.

  • A cannibal is a person who eats other people.
  • To give him the cold shoulder can mean either "to give him a cold shoulder (to eat)," or "to ignore him."

16. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat says to the other, "You stay here, I'll go on a head."

  • To go on ahead means "to continue without someone." To go on a head means to put on someone's head.

17. If you step onto a plane and recognize a friend of yours named Jack don't yell out Hi Jack!

  • Greeting some with, "Hi Jack" can be misinterpreted for "hijack" which means to illegally steal an airplane, car, while people are in it.

18. Did you hear about the fire at the circus? The heat was in tents.

  • A tent is the structure in which a circus is held, intense means "extreme."

19. The short fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a small medium at large.

  • Small is another way to say "short."
  • Medium is another word for a "fortune teller" or "physic."
  • At large means "wanted by the police."

20. Today I saw a midget prisoner climbing down a wall, as he turned and sneered at me I thought, "that's a little condescending."

  • A midget is a little person.
  • Sneered means a mocking/mean smile.
  • A little condescending means "acting in a way to make someone feel inferior," but a little con descending means "a little convict (or criminal) going towards the ground."

Want More Fun English?

If you'd like to be notified when we publish new articles like this one, then sign up for our weekly newsletter.

We also tweet jokes like these puns on our Twitter account (along with phrasal verbs, grammar and TOEFL exercises, quotes, slang, and more).

If you want to practice your listening while having fun, then check out the Real Life English Podcasts.

To have more fun with English, check out the article Fun English: Dick in a Box.


  • Rodrigo Penna says:

    That’s really useful, bro! I can understand and read it with my eyes closed! Awww yeah!

  • Awww yeah! Rodrigo Penna – Further more it is soooo funny! I'm dying of laughter here! Thanks dude for sharing!

  • Arthur says:

    Gotta know them by heart! Awesome!

  • Trevor says:

    Thanks for the kind words guys! I’m glad you liked it. :^)

  • Thaís says:

    Using English to have some fun is priceless! I can’t help it, but visiting every single day and having a lot of fun! It cracks me up!

  • Trevor says:

    Hey Thaís! Yeah 9gag and reddit are both great ways to have fun learning English. :^)

  • […] However, it doesn’t mean one should have to struggle the whole process. As our vision goes, the fun we have, the better we are able to learn. It’s up to you to find out what suits you best, but we are here to guide […]