While doing what?
While enjoying my subscription to one of the many grammar blogs that I follow, my muse suddenly slapped me in the face. She told me “ISD, you just came across something you should share”
I came across an image and I couldn’t help but obey my muse by sharing. I know what she did there; she wanted me to see just how many people out there didn’t genuinely get the joke in that image. I was appalled; it seemed pretty easy and straightforward, but many people still didn’t get it. This is a result of people viewing it as a random worldly joke. It’s not, it’s a grammar joke!
So, here I am to the rescue!
The message on the image in this post is quite clear (I hope), and if it takes someone’s explanation for you to finally understand it, then you missed out big time on a hearty laugh at first glance. This is a clear grammar joke; there are some in circulation that you couldn’t possibly get if you’re not a grammar nazi. Same way you can’t get some jokes because they’re based on some foreign culture – mostly American; they’re the big jokers. It’s always about your background knowledge for jokes.
The grammar sense in this image simply suggests this:
that a noun phrase (adjective + noun [bill + posters])
which can comfortably be substituted with a COMMON NOUN (posters)
is interpreted as a name, a PROPER NOUN (Bill Posters).
So instead of understanding it as people posting bills will be prosecuted, it’s been “stubbornly” understood as a certain man called Bill Posters, who will be prosecuted. Hence, the naughty reply “Bill Posters is innocent”.
I told you it would kill the fun if it has to be explained. I, all of a sudden, don’t find this image funny anymore after having to explain it. Then again, let me not flatter myself. Have you got the joke? Did I make it worse?
There are many funny pictures and memes online based on various grammar topics: punctuation, spelling, etc. What people don’t realize is, they are meant to help you be more aware of your grammar. If they, indeed, got the joke, it might be on the surface level and learning might not really have taken place.
English teachers (like me) resort to using these funny pictures to teach some topics- maybe as an introductory, middle or concluding part of the lesson, and the children find it quite interesting. They have no choice, the teacher just made a joke in the midst of all that “ramble”! And then again, if they don’t understand it, like the low achievers, it would only look stupid to them.
Wait a min!
This is meant to be a screenwriting post yeah? Alright, I apologize. Or maybe not. Because we do experience these things watching movies too don’t we? It’s so sad when I’m at a cinema watching a movie, and a grammar joke occurs in a scene, but I and a few others are the only ones laughing out loud. When I look around, it’s like “what the hell are they laughing about?”. Sad. Are screenwriters really supposed to dumb it down all the time? Why can’t we play around sometimes with the assurance that people would get it? Why can’t we make a whole movie themed on grammar? No! That won’t sell, because more than half of the world wouldn’t get it.
What can you do? It all boils down to that grammar though. Know grammar to a high standard, and relish in those jokes.
Kids, take those classes more serious, it would earn you tons of hearty laughters. Adults, be more observant, you just might need that joke to ease out the stress at work. It’s not always about the idea alone, look at the grammar effect always.
Isedehi Aigbogun, also known as ISD, is a staunch academic, holding a B.A., M.A., and PhD (in view) in English Language.
She’s a Screenwriter, Screenplay Analyst, Consultant, and Film Scriptic.