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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Monday, February 06, 2006

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS

Do you find understanding jokes confusing? Well, don’t worry - you are not alone. Most students struggle with understanding humor. This is often because of the use of double meanings of words or phrases. See if you can figure out why this joke is supposed to be funny.

Q: Who earns money driving their customers away?

A: A taxi driver.

This joke has a double meaning because of the phrasal verb “drive away”. One meaning for “drive away” is to cause someone or something to leave. For example, the rain drove away all the people in the park. This is typically a negative meaning. Another meaning for “drive away” is to leave somewhere by driving in a vehicle, such as what a taxi driver might do.

If you would like more information on WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca

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