How to write funny sentences
This is a fun little trick I use a lot.
I realised recently I learned it from one of my best friends growing up.
You can mix formal, serious words with informal ones to create funny sentences.
I’ll start a sentence using words that are often used in formal (or at least sensible) correspondence.
(I’m aware of these formal expressions because of the many ‘cease & desist’ letters I’ve had over the years. Ho ho ho.)
I’ll then complete these assumptive sentences with something unusual that isn’t what the reader expects.
“I trust this will charm you into submission”
“I await your profanity-filled response”
It almost fits the standard joke formula.
[Set up] – [Punchline]
[Formal] – [Informal/Unusual]
This builds the expectation that the rest of the sentence is going to continue down the same path.
The reader is then misdirected as the remainder of the sentence isn’t congruent with the setup.
You can play with this format further just by adding an unusual or ‘enjoyable’ word to an otherwise ‘serious’ sentence.
I doubt many of you would write the following closing line in an email.
“I await your response with great interest.”
It’s a bit old-fashioned. I’ve seen this line in a lot of old handwritten letters.
The addition of one word can transform this into something that may elicit a smirk.
“I await your baffled response with great interest.”
The word ‘baffled’ sticks out. It sounds funny, especially when surrounded by serious sounding words.
This is an area you can have a lot of fun with.
Look at the form of a specific document or media type.
How can you play with the expectations of that form to misdirect the reader?
You can play around with the syntax of formal dialogue and make it funny.
Humour is about many things, two of which being surprise and incongruence.
This is a great way of being able to deliver both of these.