It’s “Oh, Pun!” Season: A Classification System for Puns

by Eric Pinder

Today I had writer’s block, so I went looking for a Muse. I didn’t find any muses, but I did bump into Queen Victoria. She said, regally, “We are not a Muse.”

Sorry, I can never resist a good pun. Or a bad pun. I used to hate puns, until years of hanging out with my annoyingly quick-witted friends (in a kind of modern-day Algonquin Round Table) forced me to learn to pun in self-defense.

Geology puns are always gneiss. Always. You’ll have a hard time thinking of a geology pun that isn’t tired and overused like that one.

As a connoisseur of puns, I can say with authority that there are three types of pun. Modeled after the Fujita scale for tornadoes and the Beaufort scale, which measures wind speed, my patented Pinder Pun Scale places puns in three distinct categories. If you manage to think of a category 2 or category 3 pun, you should consider that an accomplishment.

Category 3 puns are so witty, so clever, that you can’t help but admire the intellect of the punster. These puns are very rare.

Category 2 puns are so awful, tasteless and groan-worthy that upon hearing them you feel actual physical pain. You may double over in agony. These puns are also rare.

Category 1 puns are neither particularly clever nor do they inflict much pain, and in fact should probably never have been spoken aloud. Sadly, category 1 puns are the most common

I’ll leave it to you to decide where my Muse pun falls.

If you like puns, my book Among the Clouds is full of them, including many weather puns. Mercifully, the rest of my books are mostly pun-free, though you’ll find some wordplay in the newest edition of Life at the Top, too.


Hay, ewe. On this page you’ll hear about three types of puns. (The picture-pun combination above probably rates a lousy 1.2 on the Pinder Pun Scale.)