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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Swifties’

Swifties of Biblical Proportions

Tom said piously

Anyone who knows me personally or who has read my blog posts for any length of time knows how much I love a good pun. When a pun can be wedded with a point of grammar, it becomes irresistible for me. One such phenomenon is Tom Swifties, of which I have done two previous posts — Tom Swifties, part 1 and Tom Swifties, part 2.

In the first of those posts I gave the background of how Tom Swifties came to be. If you are interested to learn more about that, you can look at that post. The upshot of it is that a "Tom Swiftie" is an adverbial pun game in which the object is to match an adverb with a statement to produce a (hopefully) hilarious pun.

One of my tasks over the Christmas break was to go through some piles on my desk here at home. I was able to eliminate a lot of clutter, but also I found a few treasures that I knew would be good fodder for future blog posts. One of the things I found was a photocopy of an article from a 1982 issue of HIS magazine from Inter-Varsity Press. As best as I can determine, I believe that magazine is no longer being produced.

Anyway, today I will share with you the best of the Swifties from that article, along with a few of my own. 🙂

"Abel, would you like me to spot you while you try to bench press that giant rock?" Cain said bashfully.

"They just appeared two by two," whispered Noah arcanely.

"The second dove hasn't returned," said Noah drily.

"So, you're leaving everything behind, just like that?" asked Lot's wife saltily.
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picture of a frog

As promised several weeks ago, here's the final installment of Tom Swifties. A close cousin to the Tom Swifty is the Croaker. Croakers are like Tom Swifties, only different. It is the verb, rather than the adverb, that supplies the pun. The one that probably gave them their name is "My pet frog died," Tom croaked. If you make it all the way to the end, there are even a few without Tom! Anyway, here goes....

"All right then, we'll use a water solution," Tom acquiesced.

"There is room for one more," Tom admitted.

"Here's your allowance for the next two weeks," Tom advanced.

"Waaaa! I'm losing my hair," Tom bawled.

"Wow!" barked Tom, with a bow.

"I am NOT full of hot air," Tom belched.

"The fire's going out!" Tom bellowed.

"The giant sea creature died," Tom blubbered and wailed.

"My ancestor was a famous Confederate general who had an army fort named after him," Tom bragged.

"I make myself use this brush," Tom bristled.

"I hate cleaning fish," Tom carped.

"I like Chinese detective films!" Tom chanted.

"I want another plate of steamers!" Tom clamoured.

"Have another cola," Tom coaxed.

"We've overthrown the government," Tom cooed.

"I saw more black birds than you did," Tom crowed.

"So what if the Greek piper god is deceased?" Tom deadpanned.

"Someone has removed all the twos from this deck," Tom deduced.

"Beagles are all dumb," Tom dogmatized.

"I used to be a gold miner!" Tom exclaimed.

"I used to be a pilot," Tom explained.

"I've done well on my diet," Tom expounded.

"I used to work for Manpower," Tom extemporized.

"I hope I can still play the guitar," Tom fretted.

"I must be just a visitor," Tom guessed.

"I've struck oil," Tom gushed.

"I feel empty inside," Tom hollered.

"I think that mischievous child deceived me," Tom implied.

"She must be wearing her mink inside out," Tom inferred.

"This meat is not very tender," Tom insinuated.

"I can stay on pitch when I sing," Tom intoned.

"You look like a baby goat," Tom kidded.

"You know, I do love cats," Tom mused.

"That's not a sheltie — it's just a mongrel," Tom muttered.

"Oh! What I'd give to see the nicest of all trees — evergreens!" Tom opined.

"We'll get there before you do," Tom and Harry predicted.

"Yippee! Another windstorm," Tom regaled.

"I want to renew my membership," Tom rejoined.

"I'm never anywhere on time," Tom related.

"I used to think amputation was irreversible," Tom remembered.

"I'll glue the sheets of wood back together," Tom replied.

"Corroborate that again," Tom reproved.

"May I go look for the Holy Grail again?" Tom requested.

"We're having calf once again," Tom revealed.

"That's it! No more! That's my third electric shock this week!" Tom revolted.

"I got the stain out of my favorite shirt!" Tom shouted.

"I ate the last candy bar," Tom snickered.

"It looks like it's going to storm," Tom thundered.

"I hate milking cows," Tom uttered.

"Oh no! It's Moby Dick!" Tom wailed.

"Yuk! My grape juice has fermented," Tom whined.

"I don't like sweet potatoes," Tom yammered.


Then there are Double Croakers in which a combination of several sentence components make the pun.

"Furthermore, I'm the best mathematician in the world," Tom added summarily.

"Keep working, you mangy cur," Tom barked doggedly.

"This ... meat ... is ... hard ... to ... chew," Tom beefed jerkily.

"The fire in the hearth is going out," Tom bellowed greatly.

"I can't eat some of the meat they eat in France," Tom bridled hoarsely.

"Get me off this horse!" Tom derided woefully.

"I suppose I've lost a lot of weight," Tom expounded thinly.

"I refuse to obey that French 'No Smoking' sign," fumed Tom defensively.

"I did NOT finish in fifth place," Tom held forth.

"Your embroidery is sloppy," Tom needled cruelly.

"I plan to work at the cemetery," Tom plotted gravely.

"Do you think I can eventually draw blood from you?" Tom probed vainly.

"I'm leaving you, you snake!" Tom rattled off.

"That's the last time I'll lie on the train tracks!" said Tom, beside himself.

"No, I don't have any Milkyways on me," said Tom holding no bars.

"I've run out of wool," said Tom knitting his brow.

"The exit is right there," Tom pointed out.

"I'll figure out the answer to this algebra problem," Tom added, nonplussed.

"I'm wearing a wedding ring," said Tom with abandon.

"I've got you covered. Drop your gun," said Tom with a disarming smile.

"Eat more fruit" said Tom with aplomb.

"I just swallowed an earthworm," said Tom with bated breath.

"I've just slain and cremated the Greek piper god," said Tom with panache.

"I'll tell you no lies!" sang Tom in falsetto.

"So only one person arrived at your party before I did?" Tom second guessed.

"I am too singing in tune!" Tom sounded off.

"Well, even if no one else does, *I* enjoy fixing bicycle wheels," Tom spoke up.

"Well, I, for one, have always been a great proponent of the Heimlich manoeuvre," Tom struck back.

"Here's the story of the Liberty Bell," Tom told appealingly.

"Let me show you how to have a well polished floor," Tom waxed eloquently.


And, if you've made it this far and are sick to death of TOM, here are some Swifties and Croakers with no Tom at all!

"I wonder why uranium is fluorescent," said Marie curiously.

"Dorothy, if you go to Oz again, you're taking me instead of Toto," Auntie Em barked.

"Work, work, work! That's all I ever do. That's all I ever do," Bea droned.

"I hate reading Victor Hugo," said Les miserably.

"My mom is German," she muttered.

"Wouldn't just gold and frankincense do?" the Magi demurred.

"I've got a new game we could play," mumbled Peg.

"These cookies are too spicy!" Ginger snapped.


"Can you add any Croakers to the comments?" asked Rob openly.


"We're so often consumed with cheap toys when God wants to give us treasures that will last forever." Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Always remember — everyone of us is someone else's weirdo!

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Tom Swifties, part 2

picture of Tom Swift books

Last weekend I posted the first half of my list of Tom Swifties. I learned from a comment to that post that there are a number of eBooks from the Tom Swift series that are free to download. You can do that at http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/authors/a#a267 Using the search function at the top of that page you can find eBooks by many authors in many languages.

The picture on the right is a Tom Swift book published in 1929 in which he marries his longtime girlfriend, Mary Nestor. When you think about what a Ford Model A looked like at that time, you realize how much this book was ahead of its time with this forerunner of the RV's of today.

As I promised, here is the second half of my list of Tom Swifties.

"I guess we could add a yellow flower to the bouquet," said Tom lackadaisically.

"I'm tired of trying to understand girls," said Tom lassitudinously.

"Which floor would you like to go to?" asked Tom liftingly.

"I forgot what to pick up at the store," said Tom listlessly.

"Look at those newborn kittens," said Tom literally.

"Oh come on! It's not that hard — just add this list of X numbers and divide the sum by X," said Tom meanly.

"A thousand thanks, monsieur," said Tom mercifully.

"She's already married," said Tom mistakenly.

"This isn't real turtle soup," said Tom mockingly.

"Sometimes I like to milk cows, and other times I prefer to eat pickles," said Tom moodily.

"At the end of an auction I always end up buying too much and am dead tired," said Tom morbidly.

"How come my clock makes only 'toc's?" Tom asked mystically.

"You're a real zero," said Tom naughtily.

"That's the last time I'll pet a lion," said Tom offhandedly.

"Hey, great! My glasses are all fogged up," said Tom optimistically.

"Oh, well, another broken window," said Tom painlessly.

"From time to time I have to renew my subscriptions," said Tom periodically.

"Hey, how's about brewing me some coffee," said Tom perkily.

"This dessert is divine," said Tom piously.

"Nevermore will I read The Raven," said Tom poetically.

"This pencil is so dull," said Tom pointlessly.

"I joined the Lion's Club," said Tom pridefully.

"We've located Tiger Woods," said Tom profoundly.

"I enjoy starting fights when I play hockey," said Tom puckishly.

"I cut my nails too short," said Tom quickly.

"I must patch this coat." said Tom raggedly.

"The river has gotten rough," said Tom rapidly.

"That's all you get for now," said Tom rationally.

"I could eat a crow!" said Tom ravenously.

"I have books about Communism, said Tom readily.

"I'd paint it blue again," said Tom reassuringly.

"I haven't had an accident in ten years," said Tom recklessly.

"That was such a nice mirror!" said Tom reflectively.

"I have to take the telegrapher's test again, said Tom remorsefully.

"I'll have to dig another ditch around that castle," sighed Tom remotely.

"I'm an ordained minister," said Tom reverently.

"Frankly, my dear, should I care?" asked Tom rhetorically.

"I've had enough of these Paris streets," said Tom ruefully.

"I need a home run hitter," said Tom ruthlessly.

"To cook well, you must use the right herbs," said Tom sagely.

"I'm too tired for this evening's tryst with a mermaid," said Tom sedately.

"No, you may not buy my halibut?" Tom asked selfishly.

"Have I been to Egypt?" asked Tom senilely.

"I'd love to see my penny collection again," said Tom sentimentally.

"There's the dog star," said Tom seriously.

"I've been neglecting my flock," said Tom sheepishly.

"Never fear. Some day, people will be able to take civil action against computers," said Tom soothingly.

"Plenty of starch, if you please," said Tom stiffly.

"After the realignment that car is so easy to steer!" Tom said straightforwardly.

"Moby Dick is a really nice book," said Tom superficially.

"You've already shown me how to do that," said Tom tautly.

"I buy only Newsweek," said Tom timelessly.

"Is your name Timothy or Russell?" asked Tom timorously.

"We have another flat," sighed Tom tiredly.

"I was adopted," said Tom transparently.

"I'll always be a ditch digger," said Tom trenchantly.

"You punched me in the stomach three times," said Tom triumphantly.

"I'm a softball pitcher," said Tom underhandedly.

"I want to date around," said Tom unsteadily.

"I'd love some Chinese food," said Tom wantonly.

"I passed my electrocardiogram," said Tom wholeheartedly.

"As my sole heir, you get it all," said Tom willfully.

" ..., and you lose a few," said Tom winsomely.

"I know all the wherefores," said Tom wisely.

"I can't get this horse to stop," said Tom woefully.

"I'm going to knit a sweater for my guppy," said Tom wolfishly.

"I'll have the dark bread," said Tom wryly.

"When I didn't talk nicely, my mother made me eat soap," said Tom zestfully.

"You know, I'm beginning to HATE adverbs!" said Tom. 😀


After the first post of Tom Swifties, several people commented that they were surprised to learn that the series of books had all been written under one pseudonym, but by several authors. If you'd like to learn the names of some of the men and women who share that pseudonym, you can see them at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victor_Appleton.

I'll give you a couple of weeks to recover from these before posting some puns called Croakers. In the Tom Swifty family, Croakers use verbs, rather than adverbs, to deliver the pun-chline.


"The people who believe in a god who doesn't know what to do don't believe in the God of the Bible." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

A bumper sticker my wife and I saw on the car ahead of us this week — "This driver carries no cash. He's married."

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Tom Swifties, part 1

picture of first Tom Swift book

"During the early part of the 20th century, boys and girls grew up devouring the adventures of Tom Swift, a sterling young hero created by Edward Stratemeyer," wrote Richard Lederer in his book Get Thee to a Punnery. The first book in the series, Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle, published in 1910, was the first of a number written by ghostwriters, all of whom published under the pseudonym Victor Appleton. Tom and his friends and enemies never just said something — they always said it excitedly or sadly or hurriedly. An off-shoot of those books is an adverbial pun game known as Tom Swifties. The object of the game is to match an adverb with a statement to produce hilarious puns.

Some of these puns are pretty deep and even multilayered. So if you love puns, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy these to the max. Since the list of Tom Swifties I have is so long, I'm breaking it into several posts. Today's post is adverbs starting with the letters a — j.

I'll start you off with a trio of related Tom Swifty puns, then the rest are in alphabetical order, by the adverbs used.

"My stereo is broken," said Tom disconsolately.
"My stereo's half-fixed," said Tom monotonously.
"My stereo sounds great now," said Tom ecstatically.

"I can take or leave modern painting," said Tom abstractly.

"No, Eve! Don't eat that fruit," said Tom adamantly.

"I think I'm back from my lobotomy," said Tom absentmindedly.

"Thou canst not have this and eat it too," said Tom archaically.

"England is okay, except there seems to be at least one insect in every restroom," said Tom aloofly.

"This boat leaks," said Tom balefully.

"I'll give you a haircut you'll NEVER forget!" said Tom barbarously.

"I'm ashamed to admit I keep banging my head on things," said Tom bashfully.

"When I get stung, I want revenge," said Tom begrudgingly.

"I'm sure we can fool them into thinking this is pollen," said Tom beguilingly.

"I'm being sent down to the minors," said Tom beleagueredly.

"I wouldn't give that hornet any higher than a 5," said Tom beratingly.

"How am I supposed to know what to play? There's nothing on this staff paper!" Tom noted blankly.

"I need a pencil sharpener right now," said Tom bluntly.

"I'll use a different font style," said Tom boldly.

"Ho, hum ... I still haven't struck oil," said Tom boringly.

"This is mutiny!" said Tom bountifully.

"The stock market's going up," said Tom bullishly.

"So, where could I get a new computer like this" said Tom calculatingly.

"Rowing the boat won't hurt your hands," said Tom callously.

"The symphony wasn't played!" cried Tom disconcertedly.

"Your new dress looks great with all those animal hairs all over it?" said Tom cattily, yet doggedly.

"I've run out of laundry detergent," said Tom cheerlessly.

"Don't tell them I said so, but your family in Scotland has a great future," said Tom clandestinely.

"Oh, come on. We could teach the world to sing," said Tom coaxingly.

"You've got all the blankets," said Tom coldly.

"I'll take the wretched prisoner downstairs," said Tom condescendingly.

"The escaped prisoner is camping in the woods," said Tom contentedly.

"I'm writing a poem extolling the rebels in Nicaragua," said Tom controversially.

"We Cancers don't believe in horoscopes," Tom asked crabbily.

"Give me some more macaroni and cheese, and I'll tell you the secret," said Tom craftily.

"Oh, no! I've dropped my toothpaste," said Tom crestfallenly.

"I've struck oil," said Tom crudely.

"I hate pies with crumb bases," said Tom crustily.

"Want to visit some tombs?" asked Tom cryptically.

"I don't want to watch the eclipse," said Tom darkly.

"Let those bugs just try to get in here!" said Tom defiantly.

"Of course you'll graduate," said Tom diplomatically.

"I was removed from office," said Tom disappointedly.

"Believe it or not, my favorite statue is Venus de Milo," said Tom disarmingly.

"That sure took the wind out of my sails!" said Tom disgustedly.

"This place doesn't smell bad anymore," said Tom distinctly.

"I just returned from China," said Tom disorientedly. (Rob the ivman has said this twice in the past.)

"My hair's been cut off," said Tom distressfully.

"Roll over, boy! Come on – roll over! ROLL OVER!!!" Tom said doggedly.

"I can't eat another bite of pineapple," said Tom dolefully.

"I could stand a Coca-Cola about now," said Tom dryly.

"I'll pay off that customs official," said Tom dutifully.

"Now I have everything I need to paint your portrait," said Tom easily.

"Yippee! My pantlegs no longer cling," Tom said ecstatically.

"Hmm.... I think you'd better keep an eye on that orbit," said Tom elliptically.

"Let's get married," said Tom engagingly.

"I've lost my trousers," said Tom expansively.

"Get away from the dynamite," said Tom explosively.

"I used to work as a conductor," said Tom extraneously.

"I used to command a battalion of German ants," said Tom exuberantly.

"Eins, zwei, drei, fünf ... see, I can count to five in German" said Tom fearlessly.

"I love watching the women skaters," said Tom figuratively.

"This jacket's too tight," said Tom fitfully.

"Apartment living is all right, I guess," said Tom flatly

"Yeah, for a short time I commanded a whole group of ships," said Tom fleetingly.

"Anyone can make pancakes," said Tom flippantly.

"This chimney works well," said Tom fluently.

"Only my first three answers were wrong," said Tom forthrightly.

"Here, have yet another hot dog," said Tom frankly.

"That insect is female," said Tom gallantly.

"Anyone know who commanded the Confederate army?" Tom asked generally.

"Eating uranium makes me feel like I'm brilliant," said Tom glowingly.

"I just won 1,000 dollars," said Tom grandly.

"Thanks for shredding the cheese," said Tom gratefully.

"I'll try to dig it up for you," said Tom gravely.

"I collect fairy tales," said Tom grimly.

"So far I've killed 144 cockroaches in my house," said Tom grossly.

"She tore my Valentine in two, said Tom halfheartedly.

"Hallelujah!" sang Tom handily.

"Quick, eat some pudding!" said Tom hastily.

"It's the maid's night off," said Tom helplessly.

"We've won the Kentucky Derby," screamed Tom hoarsely.

"Sorry, troops, but there's no Christmas show this year," said Tom hopelessly.

"Come convalesce at my place," said Tom hospitably.

"I'm as strong as a sled dog," said Tom huskily.

"Pass me the deck of cards," said Tom ideally.

"That bird is a protected species, and I've made it sick," said Tom illegally.

"No doctor has treated me yet," said Tom impatiently.

"This chicken has no beak," said Tom impeccably.

"My blood pressure doesn't register," said Tom impulsively.

"You don't want to catch my bad cold, do you?" asked Tom infectiously.

"I've locked onto the target," said Tom insightfully.

"As soon as the rain stops, we'll break camp," said Tom intently.

"Forgive me, but I'm a little rusty," said Tom ironically.

"My pants are no longer wrinkled," said Tom ironically.

"Make way for me, His Majesty Joseph," said Tom jokingly.

"I find these blintzes very good indeed!" said Tom judiciously.


For the next several weekends I plan to do "bonus posts" of Tom Swifties. This is part of my effort to republish my personal favorites of my old ivman archives on the blog instead. When the ivman.com domain had to be rebuilt, I decided to simplify my life by not putting out any of the archives, neither the archived iv's nor the funny pictures. If there's something you really enjoyed that you would like to see republished on my blog soon, let me know through the contact link.

If you'd like to learn more about the books and the various Tom Swift series since the original series, here are several links:



Do you have a favorite among the Tom Swifties in today's blog post? Or better yet, maybe you can think of some of your own with adverbs starting with the letters a — j and post them in the comments.


"The first duty of every soul is not to find its freedom but its master." British Congregationalist P.T. Forsyth

=^..^= =^..^=

....sdrawkcab lla smees tsuj gnihtyreve semitemoS

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