Pun

Please note, there are other types of humour that commonly appear in Language Analysis pieces. See also: sarcasm and word play.

Example

“All the King has to worry about is his receding heir line.”

Definition

A pun is a form of word play that insinuates two or more meanings within only one set of words by exploiting the potential for multiple meanings within the same or similar-sounding words. In the above example the pun is on the use of “heir” referring to descendants, in replace of “hair.”

Effect on reader

Puns are intended to be humorous and memorable. However, a writer does not simply want a reader to laugh at their word play; writers generally use puns in order to combine humour with other persuasive techniques to emphasise them.

The use of humour may change the tone of a piece to be more light-hearted and can serve to re-position the writer, bringing them down to the same level as the reader.