“My English Isn’t Well Today”: Using Wordplay to Laugh at Our Mistakes

“My English isn’t well today” is one of my favorite Czenglish mistakes. It never gets old.

Is your English sick? Why isn’t it in bed? Why don’t you make it some black tea? (The Czech cure, seemingly, for all problems.)


It’s just a stupid joke, but we have to laugh when we make silly mistakes. And these mistakes are often what makes wordplay such an effective form of humor in language.

Here’s an example:


dyslexic: someone who mixes up letters in their mind when they read

atheist: someone who doesn’t believe in god

insomniac: someone who can’t sleep at night


Jokes that use more than one meaning of a word are called puns. And they are my favorite kind of jokes.


“Bye, son!”


Probably needs no explanation.


to be a fan of something = to like and support something


mike = short for microphone


Jokes can also remind us that spelling, especially if you’re a non-native speaker of a language, is very important, and how easy it is to make mistakes when you’re not paying attention…

(Remember, spell checker doesn’t work at all if the word you’ve written is also actually a word.)





In translation:

I have a spelling checker

It came with my PC

It plainly marks for my review

Mistakes I cannot see.

I strike a key and type a word

And wait for it to say

Whether I am wrong or right,

It shows me straightaway.


And just to remind you that native speakers make silly mistakes too:


“There, there” means “It’s okay.”

Go forth into the dark winter world and be merry!

Christmas tree in the Ben Jelacic main square in Zagreb, Croatia




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