Door Prize

Q: Why did the scientist install a knocker on his front door?
A: Because he wanted to win the no-bell prize!

Explanation: A knocker is that metal piece on the outside of a door that you use to make noise so that people know that you are there.  An alternative to using a door knocker is to use a doorbell.  A doorbell is a button, typically found next to the door, that you push to make noise inside the house so that people know that you are there.

If you do not have a doorbell, you have no bell.  “No bell” sounds like Nobel.  Nobel is the name of a prize in many different categories including physics, chemistry, peace, and literature.

This joke is funny because no-bell sounds like Nobel, and the scientist wanted to win a no-bell/Nobel prize. (That strategy probably won’t help him win!)

Here is some information about the Nobel Prizes:

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I Am Not Swearing

Q: What did the fish say when he swam into the concrete wall?
A: Dam!

Explanation: As a language learner, it is important to know the swear words, the bad words, the words you probably shouldn’t say.

Dam is not a swear word, but it sounds like one.  A dam is a structure built on a river to keep the water from flowing.  Beavers make dams (see the video on that link to learn more about beavers and their dams) and humans do too.  To see a dam, you might visit the Hoover Dam in Nevada.  If a fish ran into a concrete wall while swimming in a river, it is probably a dam.

Dam sounds just like damn; many people consider damn to be a swear word.  Damn comes from the Latin word ‘damnare’ which means to condemn.  Lots of people use the word damn when something goes wrong or hurts.  If you were to bump into a concrete wall it would hurt and you might say, “Damn,”  just like the fish in the joke.  If you are creative, you can probably find better words to express your pain.

This joke is funny because the words damn and dam sound the same.

I like this video about beaver dams and the calm voice of the speaker, Richard Attenborough.

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Oh Brother!

Q: Why can’t a woman ask her brother for help?
A: Because he can’t be a brother and assist her too!

Explanation: Of course a woman can ask her brother for help!  Just not in this joke.

The words in this joke are rather well known.  To assist means to help. You already know brother, sister, and woman.  Regarding relationships, you can be either a brother or a sister, but not both.

This joke is funny because, if you listen closely, “a sister” and “assist her” sound the same. Please help your brothers and sisters.

Here is a story about someone who decided to help his community by using books and a donkey.

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Book ’em, Danno

Q: How do you keep a bagel from getting away?
A: Put lox on it!

Explanation: Bagels are a type of bread that look like a donut.  They are round and have a hole in the middle, but they are not sweet.  To eat a bagel, you usually cut it in half and put something on it like cream cheese.

Another item you might put on your bagel is lox.  Lox is salmon that has been preserved by using brine.  The word lox sounds like the word locks.  A lock is used to close something securely, like putting a lock and chain on your bike so that no one steals it, or locking the door to your apartment.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word lox/locks, which sound the same. (The title of this post comes from Hawaii 5-0 when McGarret told his partner to arrest someone by saying, “Book ’em, Danno.”

Here is a video about how bagels are made.  Try narrating the video

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Dear Bare

Q: What do you call a bear with no ears?
A: B!

Explanation: Get it?  If you take the word bears and cross off the word ears (bears) you are left with just the letter ‘b.’  Silly, I know.  So here is another one…

Q: What do you call a deer with no eyes?
A: No eye-deer!

Explanation: When someone asks you a question, and you do not know the answer, you might say, “I have no idea.”  Some English speakers tend to put the ‘r’ sound on the end of the word ‘idea’ so that is sounds like ide-er. 

In this joke, a deer with no eyes (a no eye deer) sounds like no ide-er.

By the way, both bear and deer (animals) have words that sound the same, bare and dear.  Here is a baby bear meeting a baby deer for the first time (why they were together in a house I do not know!):

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Q: What did the mouse say to the keyboard?
A: You are really my type!

Explanation: Computer humor!

A mouse can be a small animal or a device that helps you work with a computer.  In this joke, I am talking about the computer mouse, so picture a computer mouse talking to the computer keyboard.  

And what do you do with a keyboard?  You type on it to enter information into the computer.  (Did you know that there are one-handed keyboards?)

“You’re my type” is an idiom that means that I like you, or that we will get along well together.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word type and the idiom “you’re my type.”

If you would like to practice typing, here is a video to get you started:

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A Bigger, Better Year

Q: If Mr. and Mrs. Bigger had a baby, who would be the biggest of all three of them?
A: The baby because the baby is a little Bigger!

Explanation: Happy New Year! A baby joke for the new year seemed appropriate.

If something is a little bigger than something else, that means it is larger. For example, I might say that, typically, a grapefruit is a little bigger than an orange.  Sometimes they are a lot bigger.

If a person’s last name is Bigger, well, the whole thing gets more complicated.  In this case, the baby is referred to as the little one, or the little Bigger, who is actually smaller because of being a baby.

This joke is funny because the little Bigger (the baby) cannot be a little bigger (larger) than the parents.  May your new year be a little better than the past year. (I was going to say bigger, but that wouldn’t make sense.)

Let’s take a look in the opposite direction of bigger: Tiny Houses!

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Making Things Alright

Q: Where does satisfaction come from?
A: A satisfactory!

Explanation: Satisfaction is that feeling you get when things work out.  I think of it as a feeling of calm joy because life is good, if only for a moment.  There are other meanings of satisfaction, and the Rolling Stones sang about not getting any.)

A factory is a place where things are made.  There is also the Cheesecake Factory, which is not really a factory but they do make cheesecake.

The word satisfactory means that something is OK, acceptable.  It is not great; it is not awful.  It is satisfactory.  A grade of a C is satisfactory school work in many places in the United States.

This joke is funny because it plays with the words satisfaction and satisfactory, as if you can make satisfaction in a factory.

If you would like to learn more about factories and the Industrial Revolution, the BBC has a bit of history for you:

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An English Christmas

Q: What do you call Santa’s helpers?
A: Subordinate Clauses!

Explanation: Merry Christmas!

In the telling of the story of Santa Claus, the people who help Santa make the toys are typically called elves (one elf, two elves).  They are the helpers; they are not the main attraction.  They are subordinate.

The word subordinate means lower in rank or position, perhaps less important, like the elves when compared to Santa.  This is also true in English grammar when there is a main clause and a subordinate clause.  A subordinate clause is part of a sentence, but it does not have enough meaning by itself.  If I say “When I get home,” there is an obvious question: What will happen when you get home?  That phrase needs more information so we call it subordinate.

This joke is funny (at least to English teachers) because Santa’s helpers are usually known as elves, not as subordinate clauses.

Here is Michael Bublé reading A Visit From St. Nicholas

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Can you smell me now?

Q: Where did the skunk sit when it went to church?
A: In its own pew!

Explanation: Skunks are those small, squirrel-like animals that are colored mostly black with a white stripe down the back.  Perhaps you remember that famous cartoon skunk, Pepe Le Pew? Skunks are known for protecting themselves by spraying a very bad smell.

Skunks do not go to church (although, maybe Pepe Le Pew did, I’m not sure).  If they did, they might sit in a pew.  A pew is the name for the bench found in many churches. You can even buy one on Etsy…if you need a pew.

Pew! is also the exclamation that people say when something smells bad (same pronunciation as a church pew).  This expression has many different spellings, but the most common seem to be pew and P.U.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word pew, the place where someone sits in a church, and pew!  Because skunks can make that really bad smell, they might sit in their own pew.

Here is Pepe Le Pew:

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