groan-inducing puns

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AlexanderIII

Senior Member
Russian
Dear all,
this is form the novel by MATSON Morgan Second Chance Summer.

My father loved puns, the more groan-inducing the better, and I was the only one who tolerated them—and, for that matter, tried to respond in kind.

Are groan-inducing puns the same as excruciating puns? And if so who do they excruciate: the person who composes them or his/her listeners?
 
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  • Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    A groan-inducing pun is one that makes the listener groan. This is usually because the pun is forced, or because it involves a play on words that didn't occur to the listener. An excruciating pun is usually a forced one, one that's not particularly witty.

    Here's an earlier thread that appeared in the list at the bottom of the dictionary page you linked to. Perhaps this is what you meant to link to?
    excruciating puns

    I was the only one who tolerated them—and, for that matter, tried to respond in kind.
    Or to put it another way, he was the only one who responded kindly.;)
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    It was a joke, Retired-teacher. I was punning on "kind". In this situation, since he was the only one who tolerated his father's puns and responded in kind, he was also being kind.
     

    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I'm sorry, I should have realised that you weren't just making a mistake. However, jokes like that can mislead people as to the meaning of phrases, so I don't think that my intervention was a waste of time.

    P.S. I tend to ignore emoticons. I haven't got used to them as a means of communication.
     
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    Retired-teacher

    Senior Member
    British English
    I don't think so. Something that just makes you groan is not physically hurting you. I suppose it could hurt you emotionally but even that is very unlikely.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    It looks like groan-making pun is coarse, clumsy, uncouth pun. It's not a flattering characteristic for the person who makes it, is it not?
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Barque is the expert on puns, but I want to add to what he said about the groan-inducing type of pun (my own small area of expertise).

    We usually groan at puns that are very well-known or very obvious [Edit: or that need explaining and still aren't funny]. I would expect the father to be rather lacking in guile, perhaps with a childlike sense of humour. It wouldn't make me think that this is not a nice person -- just a not very entertaining person.
     
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    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    No, they needn't be coarse or uncouth and they needn't always reflect unflatteringly on the pun-maker. Some puns can be funny, or groan-inducing, depending on your point of view and how you take them.

    Cross-posted.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I am still in the dark. The problem is I've never seen (or heard) people groaning as a result of a pun. Could you give a simple example, Barque?
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Making a 'groan' is a classic way of acknowledging that you understand the pun, even when it's a good one. It's not groaning repetitively as if in protracted pain.
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    A 'groan' is a classic way of acknowledging that you understand the pun, even when it's a good one.

    So a groan-making pun is a pun that is understood by its listeners, is it not?
     

    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    The problem is I've never seen (or heard) people groaning as a result of a pun.
    It need not be an actual groan - sometimes you just feel like rolling your eyes at how obvious a pun might be, or sometimes at the fact that it takes a few seconds to realise what the pun is. A groan here is something like - Oh, so that's what you mean.

    I just did a google search and found one - I know sign language. It comes in quite handy.
    I didn't get it immediately and when I did, I (mentally) groaned.
    (Handy - useful. Also, sign language is expressed by making gestures with your hands.)

    Edited to add:
    So a groan-making pun is a pun that is understood by its listeners, is it not?
    A groan-inducing pun is one that makes the listener groan (which implies that he understood it).
     
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    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    The comments mentioned in that article are hardly puns. They do make me groan, but for an entirely different reason.
    That's your opinion . They where surely meant as a pun. An example was asked for and I consider them bad puns that make me groan. We'll see shortly what comes of it: I reckon he'll not even get an (official) reprimand or face censure. He is threading a thin line though, always the professional tennis court jester. Perhaps he likes coffee and milk.

    A groan-inducing pun is one that makes the listener groan (which implies that he understood it).
    :p
     
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    Barque

    Banned
    Tamil
    That's your opinion . They where surely meant as a pun.
    I agree with heypresto. A pun by definition works on the basis of different meanings of the same word, or play on two very similar sounding words. Nastase's chocolate with milk comment wasn't a pun - he was using those two items to describe the different complexions of Williams and her partner.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree with heypresto. A pun by definition works on the basis of different meanings of the same word, or play on two very similar sounding words. Nastase's chocolate with milk comment wasn't a pun - he was using those two items to describe the different complexions of Williams and her partner.
    :thumbsup: And, although I haven't heard them verbatim, his unsubstantiated allegations of doping don't sound like puns either.
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Here's an example of a groan-inducing pun:
    • My father is a strong-man in a circus.
    • What does he do?
    • He chews hammers.
    • Is he a professional?
    • No, he's a hammer-chewer.
    Why is it groan-inducing? A: it's very very old. B: it depends on a complicated set of unlikely circumstances. C: the pun hammer-chewer/amateur depends on a particular London accent. If you narrated this, your audience would groan with pretended pain: "Oooooh".
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think this concept is very difficult to explain and it might be based on culture as well as grammar. Humor is very culture-specific. Many people consider puns to be a stupid form of humor and don't really enjoy them. So if you make a pun (especially a bad pun) it is like making a joke that is so silly that it should be funny but it's not - because it's too simple and unsophisticated. Instead of laughing, people groan at those to indicate their feelings.

    The question is what is the difference between a good pun and a bad pun. For some people there is no difference because they don't like puns. For those that do like puns it's hard to describe the difference, especially to a non-native speaker. But basically a bad pun is one that's too obvious and not subtle. People like subtlety in humor.

    The father in the story likes puns and likes bad puns so he's purposely telling them to his family. He knows they're bad. He thinks it's funny to tell bad puns. His kids don't think so and mostly ignore his bad puns because they don't want to encourage him to tell more. The person speaking (based on past questions about this book, I think it's his daughter) is the only one who tries to tell bad puns back to him - to fight fire with fire.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I found this one online:

    I would like to make a pun about philosophy, but I Kant.

    Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher. His name sounds like can't (especially in British English). It's a bad pun about making puns.
     

    AlexanderIII

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I see. Thank you, Kentix. Very helpful. It appears that a groan-making pun is a bad pun, that's what I suspected. Having heard it the listeners groan because of their dissapointment, don't they? Groan-making pun is often a trivial pun, right?
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    I agree with heypresto. A pun by definition works on the basis of different meanings of the same word, or play on two very similar sounding words. Nastase's chocolate with milk comment wasn't a pun - he was using those two items to describe the different complexions of Williams and her partner.
    So you say.
    Ilie is joking all the time. Says Halep, who's playing Davis Cup right now with him as a captain.
    Halep offered qualified support to Nastase but said he should apologise to Williams. “He’s joking all the time and I’m 100% that was a joke,” she said. “I don’t believe that was something bad coming from him but I think it was not respectful a little bit with his comment. But we cannot get upset on Ilie, he’s like that and he’s with us the same.
    And now he's ranting against the British press today for making him look like a racist. It was just a bad pun that made me groan. If you're making jokes all the time, this poor taste thing is prone to happen. He should apologise indeed, it threads a thin line...
     
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    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    I found this one online:

    I would like to make a pun about philosophy, but I Kant.

    Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher. His name sounds like can't (especially in British English). It's a bad pun about making puns.
    I'd rather commit suicuide then read Kant.

    English only: I can't give the original of "commit suicide" in Dutch. It says "I'd rather commit Kant then read Kant.
     
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    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Having heard it the listeners groan because of their dissapointment, don't they? Groan-making pun is often a trivial pun, right?
    Exactly. They groan in disappointment. It isn't too serious, it's just disappointment that they wasted their time listening to a bad joke or a bad pun. (bad = stupid)
     
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