Illustration by Sophie Yang

A little gush of fresh humor is all that I’ve ever wanted in life. And so when people un-intend their puns, I feel heart-wrenching disappointment.

Puns have become an integral part of our society, and respected folk such as myself find it quite hard to function without them. But how do you differentiate between this exotic form of humor and the regulars?

A pun, heavily titled a paronomasia, is a play on words, an attempt to create a double meaning from a single phrase. It adds ambiguity to a conversation, which, otherwise, may have been rather dull.

But the thing about puns is that they do not necessarily have to appear in writing. Take for instance a Calculus teacher who, upon the failure of her students, reached for religion to discourage their mistakes. The Eight Commandments of Calculus were created, a loud and soundless exclamation of the biggest oh my God ever recorded, and the subtle shade was #appreciated. But the real cherry dropped when on an unsuspecting day, the students discovered a physical pun sitting underneath the Commandments. A Bible.

Now, whether this was an intentional ploy by a conspiring pupil or a largely miraculous coincidence, the students will never know. What they will come to notice, however, is that even God supports the creation of puns.

And what’s not to like about an onslaught of masked criticisms and deep shades? In a time where low maintenance humor has wriggled its way into the daily scene, puns are a refreshing breeze. To the critics who find fault in this exquisite practice, remember that puns are a classic. After all, Shakespeare had fairly shaken up the scene with his ‘fair and foul’ fares.

But pun hopefuls need to realize that there are certain conventions that the community encourages its followers to, well, follow. First and foremost, puns need to flow quite naturally in a conversation.

Take it from a master. I have set my sail with sea puns. The ocean is my canvas and frankly, I don’t believe there’s a better subject (sea what I did there?). I have learned to roll in with the tides, smooth my way into the sea of puns resting at the palm of my hands.

But even if the ocean sinks your boat, remember that there are plenty more fish in the sea. Your puns do not have to be limited to certain topics or categories. In fact, the wilder they are, the more acknowledgment you re-sea-ve.

Our lives (as well as this article) are littered with quality puns. All that is required is a little initiative to find—and appreciate—them.