humour / spelling

Spelling Humour

I’ve been collecting examples of writing and editing humour, and thought I’d post some spelling jokes today to give you a chuckle! (If you originated one of these and would like your name added to it, just let me know … and if you have other great examples, let me know and I’ll add them to the list, too). And keep posted for more writing and editing jokes upcoming in this series.

A spell chequer is nut a license two tern of yore brine. Them ridden grin squiggles err hopeful bit thy can effect you’re one I fur heirs.
(A spell checker is not a licence to turn off your brain. The red and green squiggles are helpful but they can affect your own eye or errors.)

When comforting a grammar nazi, I always say softly, “There, their, they’re.”

Homonyms are a reel waist of thyme.

Automatic Spell Checker:
Eye halve a spelling chequer / It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue / Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.
Eye strike a key and type a word / And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write / It shows me strait a weigh.
As son as a mist ache is maid / It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite / Its rare lea ever wrong.
Eye have run this poem threw it / I am shore your pleased to no
It’s letter perfect awl the weigh / My chequer tolled me sew.
— Martha Snow (?)

Hints on Pronunciation for Foreigners:
I take it you already know / Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you, / On hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps, To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word, / That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead–it’s said like bed, not bead — / And for goodness’ sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat / (They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not the moth in mother, / Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there, / Nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose– / Just look them up — and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward, / And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart — / Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start
— TSW (?)

The Chaos
(Note: Written by Gerard Nolst Trenite (1870-1946), this poem started off with 146 lines but it later grew to at least 274 lines. Here are some selections from the 5th revised edition by H.D. Tjeenk Willink & Zoon, 1929. You might want to look up the rest…or not! If you do, brave soul, check it out here.)

Dearest creature in creation, / Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse / Sounds like corpse, corps, horse and worse.
I will keep you, Susy, busy / Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear. / So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
Pray, console your loving poet, / Make my coat look new, dear, sew it!
Just compare heart, beard, and heard, / Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain / (Mind the latter, how it’s written).
Made has not the sound of bade. / Say-said, pay-paid, laid, but plaid.
Now I surely will not plague you / with such words as vague and ague.
But be careful how you speak: / Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Previous, precious, fuchsia, via; / Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe….

Unusual Paragraph
This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious as to just how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary and plain that you would think nothing is wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual, though. Study it and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do without any coaching.
— author unknown

An Ode to the English Plural
We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And if I give you my boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?
Then one may be that, and there would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!
— Richard Lederer

What other spelling jokes and ditties can we add to this list? Share yours! Thanks!

By the way, if homonyms trip you up, I’ve put together a couple booklets that will help you quickly and easily choose the correct word. Contact me for info on how to get Homonyms Part 1 A-L and Homonyms Part 2 M-Z.

Want to see more writing and editing humour? Check out these posts:

Editing Humour
Punctuation Humour
Spelling Humour
Humorous Quotes about Writing

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