English Jokes Explained

3 types of English Jokes

How to understand the English humour

We wrote before about about English jokes in our short article ‘British Humour‘. We have been writing lately about English exams preparation and other topics related to English language learning. That’s why we thought it’s time to take a more light-hearted approach to our blog again. So, what do we find funny?

Mr Bean… Monty Python… Charlie Chaplin… Shakespeare… British humour is well known across the world, but what are the most common types of English jokes? And why are they funny? Let’s have a look at 3 popular types of English jokes.


1) ‘Knock-knock’ jokes

A – Knock knock
B – Who’s there?
A – Claire
B – Claire who?
A – Claire the way, I’m coming through.

Knock-knock jokes take place at a front door. It always begins ‘Knock knock’ with the reply ‘Who’s there?’ The next part uses a pun. A pun is a joke using a word that sounds like another word or it may be a word with different meanings.

‘Claire’ sounds like ‘clear’, so in the joke above it sounds like ‘clear the way, I’m coming through’.
Here is another example:

A – Knock knock
B – Who’s there?
A – Harry
B – Harry who?
A – Harry up, it’s cold out here. (Harry up sounds like ‘hurry up’)


Woman laughing at funny English jokes

English Jokes


2) ‘Doctor, doctor’ jokes

Patient – Doctor, doctor! I feel like a pack of cards.
Doctor – I’ll deal with you later.

Doctor, doctor jokes take place in a doctor’s surgery. The patient starts by saying ‘Doctor, doctor’ and says what unusual illness they have. The doctor then gives a piece of advice which is usually a pun. ‘To deal with’ somebody means to take care of them. The verb ‘to deal’ is also used to refer to handing out playing cards. Here is one more example:

Patient – Doctor, doctor! I feel like a vampire.
Doctor – Necks please!

Necks are what vampires bite, and necks sounds like ‘next’.


3) ‘Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman’ jokes

Let’s take a look at jokes about national stereotypes.

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman were taking part in a survey about tea-drinking habits.
‘I always stir my tea with my left hand’, said the Englishman.
‘I always stir my tea with my right hand’, said the Scotsman.
How about you?’ the Irishman was asked. ‘Oh me?’ said the Irishman, ‘I always use a spoon.’

This type of joke uses stereotypes about certain types of nationalities. A stereotype is a simple idea about a type of person. In this example the stereotype is that Irish people are not as intelligent. Of course, there is no proof of that this is true!

In Ireland and Scotland, it would be the Englishman who would be the unintelligent person instead.

Here is another example:

An Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman are sitting in a bar. Suddenly, a fly dives into each of their beers.
The Englishman says, “Barman, a fly just dived into my beer. Bring me another one.” The Englishman gets another beer.
The Irishman says, “Ah, to hell with it,” and empties his pint, fly and all. The Scotsman pulls the fly out of his beer, shakes it up and down, and screams, “Spit it out, damn you! Spit it out!”

Here the stereotype is that Scottish people do not like to waste money. So much so that he wants the fly to spit out the beer it drank! Again, there is no proof that this stereotype is true…

Do you find English jokes funny? Why or why not?


Do you know any good English jokes? Share them in comments below!



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Posted on in British Culture

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