Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

No Post Intended

An important question that occurred to me today: Why do writers deem it necessary to clarify that puns which occur naturally in their writing are unintentional?

Also, given that writers have full control over the words they use, and that the English language is flexible enough to allow pretty much any thought to be expressed without the use of a pun, does an assertion that a pun was unintended really make any sense? I mean, if it wasn't intended, why leave it in?

And what about puns which have no such disclaimer attached - how can a reader tell which ones were intentional and which ones were simply overlooked by the author? Given this uncertainty, wouldn't it make more sense for writers to specify which puns are intentional?

And what is so special about puns anyway? Is there any other similar construct which attracts the same treatment? Have you ever seen an author string together a few words starting with the same letter and then write '(no alliteration intended)'?

So many questions, yet I reap very few answers.


  • You should have ended this post with a pun (no sarcasm intended).

    By Blogger Simon, at 10:30 AM  

  • You mean:

    "Sow many questions, yet I reap very few answers.?"


    By Anonymous Deanna, at 4:39 PM  

  • Whenever a writer writes "no pun intended," it's a good bet they actually intended the pun -- and wanted to make sure you caught it.

    A similar writer's tic: "But I digress..." Completely unnecessary.

    In closing, I admit I use both of these cliches.

    By Blogger J. Kelly, at 4:46 PM  

  • Simon - I sense some intentional sarcasm.

    Deanna - Indeed! I think that is the pun Simon is not referring to.

    JK not Rowling - I hadn't even considered that it was a way of highlighting the pun to make sure the reader noticed. People accuse me of being cynical, but I am routinely outcynicized by commenters (made up words not intended) on my posts.

    I think 'But I digress' had some humour value at some point as a self-deprecating way for a writer to note that they had gone way off point, but you are right that it has become heavily enough used to merit the cliche label.

    By Blogger Declan, at 6:04 PM  

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