• The Easiest Visual Jokes for Your Beginners


    …Or else!

    Sometimes you need to know only one word to find a situation hilarious.  In this case, it is  universally understood (and strategically placed, I should add) “Stop”.  When your students understand a joke in a foreign language, even as simple as this one, they are empowered by this sensation: the English language is no longer just a theoretical construct but rather a practical tool for communication and enjoyment.  Do not forget to have fun in the new language to nurture this feeling of joyful discovery!


    Here is another one for you: have fun!



  • What errors do native speakers of English make more often than non-native?

    If you guessed that the error is confusing your and you’re, you guessed it right.  The pervasiveness of this error is just mind bogging.  This error is common among both college graduates and  people who never got their high school diploma.  Why do people make this error?  I think the reason is laziness and discounting the difference between the two as something insignificant.  The reasoning goes something like this: they sound the same, and the context will help the receiver  of the message to figure out which one I mean, so why should I bother to spell them correctly? A close second is the “there, they’re, and their” confusion.

    The ironic part is that non-native speakers learn to differentiate and use these words correctly relatively quickly.  This type of error is rare beyond the beginning level of English acquisition.

    I don’t know about you, but when I see a native speaker making errors as basic as this, I can’t help but wonder whether this person is  also sloppy about other things in life…


  • Oxford Comma

    Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 8.44.28 AM
    When we list a few items one by one, we separate them with a comma:

    We invited Roosevelt, Washington, Lincoln.

    What if the last two items are joined with the conjunction and?  Do we still need a comma? In many languages, like Russian, Spanish, Greek, German, French, the comma before the conjunction is not the norm.  In English, however, opinions among writers and editors differ on whether to use the comma between the two final items.

    1) We invited Roosevelt, Washington and Lincoln.
    2) We invited Roosevelt, Washington, and Lincoln.

     The final comma before the conjunction and is called a serial comma or Oxford comma.

    In American English most style and punctuation guides mandate the use of this comma because it helps avoid ambiguity (confusion).

    This funny cartoon demonstrates how we could understand the sentence without the final comma.  Did we invite the rhinoceri and two people?  Or did we invite two rhinoceri who have human names?

  • Runs in the family



    Runs in the family refers to a genetic characteristic that many members of a  family have.  This idiom is frequently used as a joke about families.

     Take a look at this one.  Insanity does not run when it visits this particular family. Why? My guess is Insanity likes this family because they are so insane, that even Insanity itself is curious about them.  Hilarious! :)

  • Happy Birthday, Nation!

    Bald eagle with a bold attitude! :)

  • Humor Helps Where Service is Lacking


    Our bathroom sucks :)

    Our restrooms suck :)


    Would you complain after this warning?

    Very funny :)


    Vocabulary notes:

    1)   to suck means to be horrible.

    2) “Deal with it” here means “Just accept it, there is nothing you can do to change the situation.”



  • The Aware Werewolf


    I came across this wonderful image, and it inspired the poet in me.
    I hope you like it :)


    There was once a lonely creature,
    Being half-man and half-wolf was his feature,
    Was he frightening to wolves and men alike
    To prevent escalations, he took a hike.

    He decided to serve as au pair
    And occasionally as wolf-wear,
    Was his fur very much in demand
    But alive fur was very soon banned.

    And the places he went they would stare,
    For his life he was scared and mumbled a prayer,
    He was caught, poor wolf, with the net in midair
    Then was sold to a Zoo, what a sordid affair!

    Now he lives in a cage he was destined to be
    And content with his life to a certain degree,
    Morning yoga with panda bear,
    He enlightened became and aware…

  • What kind of American are you?

    And I thought you get these questions  only if you speak with an accent…  Turns out you get them if you “look with an accent”, too! :)

  • Dear Santa…


    Do you understand what’s funny here?  If you do, enjoy the joke.  If you don’t, read on.

    There is a tradition for children to write letters to Santa Claus asking for certain gifts.  Millions of boys and girls pour their heart and soul on the paper expecting a desired present in return.  There is a catch, however.  As one of the Christmas songs has it, Santa knows “who’s naughty and who’s nice” and that’s how he decides who gets gifts and what kind of gifts.  So this particular cat has no illusions as to what category he’s in: naughty!  He has been misbehaving this year and he wants to get right to the point and explain what went wrong. He’s not wasting Santa’s time! :)

    My guess is his letter will also have phrases like “It wasn’t my fault…”, “I didn’t do it…”, “He started it…”, “I had no idea…”, “The bird was already dead…”  Can you think of other excuses a pussycat might make?  Please share.

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

  • Surprise, surprise!

    American Humor, ESLMany jokes are based on ambiguity of some kind.  Ambiguity is a situation when the same word or a combination of words could be understood in different ways.  The ambiguities arise mostly in homophones (words that have the same pronunciation but different spellings and meanings) and homonyms (words that have the same pronunciation and spelling, but different meanings). A joke that exploits similar sounding words with different meanings is called a pun.  Let’s take a look at one of them.

    This joke is based on a pun; in this case, two meanings of the same word. Which word?