559: No Pun Intended

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No Pun Intended
Like spelling 'dammit' correctly -- with two m's -- it's a troll that works best on the most literate.
Title text: Like spelling 'dammit' correctly -- with two m's -- it's a troll that works best on the most literate.


"No pun intended" is an idiom meaning that something just said wasn't meant to be a pun, implying that the preceding statement could be interpreted as one. As done in the comic, following a non-pun with "no pun intended", although factually accurate, breaks this implication and confuses listeners who will be trying to work out which part of the sentence could have been interpreted as a pun.

In this comic, which is part of the My Hobby series, Cueball uses this tactic to confuse Beret Guy, who spends the next three hours trying to understand what pun there could have been in Cueball's sentence: I think he's internalized his girlfriend's attitudes.
The guy Cueball talks about seems to have taken over (internalized) all his girlfriend's attitudes, values, standards and opinions, putting these instead of those he has from his own identity or sense of self. This is probably sad, but there is no pun in the sentence.

Beret Guy, however, has been fooled by the addition of no pun intended and tries to overanalyze the sentence - did Cueball mean Lied when saying Internalized or was it Analyzed or even Attitudes he meant; could that be the pun? Since there was no pun, he will never find a solution. This was Cueball's plan all along.

It seems like Beret Guy, after three hours, finally gives up when he says Dammit. This then leads to the title text joke.

Unfortunately for the hobbyist, blank puns default to sexual innuendos, the most notorious example being "If You Know What I Mean."

The title text elicits a similar confused reaction, as the most literate people will be more likely to want to spell out "damn it" rather than using the also correct abbreviated form with morphed spelling, dammit, which is referred to as with two m's because many people (mainly in the US it seems) contract damn it to damnit, which is the "wrong way".

This way of confusing people and messing with their brains is normally an action done by Black Hat, xkcd's resident classhole. The reason Cueball is shown is probably because Randall uses Cueball to represent himself.


[Caption above the panel:]
My Hobby:
Appending "no pun intended"
to lines with no pun in them.
[Cueball is talking to Beret Guy.]
Cueball: I think he's internalized his girlfriend's attitudes - no pun intended - and so...
[The next panel is inlaid partly over the first panel. Beret Guy is thinking. Above his thought bubble is a caption:]
Three hours later:
Beret Guy (thinking): "Internalized?" Lied? Analyzed? Or is it "attitudes"? Dammit.

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To be fair, internalising anything from a girlfriend... or a girlfriend internalising anything from a boyfriend.... could have some implications. Which wasn't intended here I'm sure. 08:21, 14 March 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps, but that's not a pun. That's a double entendre in the strictest sense. Anonymous 05:29, 4 December 2013 (UTC)

This needs an incomplete flag. --Mynotoar (talk) 22:31, 10 January 2014 (UTC)

So, just give us a reason. --Dgbrt (talk) 22:55, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
Sorry, the title text needs explanation, and I think it needs more detail, especially as it doesn't really explain the punchline. --Mynotoar (talk) 23:13, 10 January 2014 (UTC)
The incomplete tag is set. I did copy your remarks. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:32, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Is the fact that this explanation is set as incomplete ironic? Surely the point of this post is that there IS no punchline - the victim is searching the sentence for humour that does not exist. As the alt text explains, the more literate the victim, the more they will agonize over potential wordplay which is simply not present. 07:30, 12 January 2014 (UTC)

Inserting "if you'll pardon the pun" into a phrase with no pun is a recurring joke on "A Bit of Fry and Laurie". (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

A great comeback to this, if you're quick enough to realize it, comes courtesy of the Get Fuzzy comic strip: "No pun... implemented." 18:59, 11 January 2016 (UTC)Krkn

Why are there two "citation needed"? I can see no way this would be true in the first case and there is a citation in the second case (P.S. did I do this right? First time using the discussion feature) 14:59, 23 January 2016 (UTC)

I think the explanation of the title text (at least the last part) isn't entirely relevant. The point is that literate people are likely to (over)correct "dammit" to "damn it" and respond to the troll, wasting time. Just like highly literate people will spend time worried about the pun they're supposedly missing. People who don't care won't waste time in either case. Making people waste time is the definition of successful trolling, so in these cases the trolling works better on literate people. A relatively uncommon regional contraction in the United States (South?) isn't really part of the issue. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

Poor Beret Guy. SilverMagpie (talk) 23:09, 29 March 2017 (UTC)

When I read the title text, I at first thought that some people spell "dammit" with one m or something, because of the words "with two m's". Well, I certainly wondered how other people misspelled it. 03:25, 9 February 2021 (UTC)

"Damn it"? Only one 'm'! KingPenguin (talk) 01:28, 20 February 2022 (UTC)

I'm familiar with the "pardon the pun" misuse thing from David Walliams' and Matt Lucas' short-lived BBC comedy series "Come Fly With Me", but this comic predates that by about a year. Perhaps XKCD is an apparently (to me anyway) seldom-recognised influence on Messrs Walliams and/or Lucas? Or maybe it's just coincidence. (P.S. I think it's probably just coincidence.)

@Danger Kitty (who doesn't have a handy User Talk page, yet)

Re: your question, it's {{Citation needed}} that you'd use (literally: {{Citation needed}}). There is also {{Actual citation needed}}, if you mean it. I personally don't think it's actually worth it/useful to add either of those where you wanted to, but I'm happy to let you know. (In short: []s brace external links, [[]]s brace (predominantly) internal wikilinks and {{}}s brace templates... which also includes wikilink templates like {{w}}. Look at page sources to check the usual formatting details for each.) 12:02, 4 October 2023 (UTC)

In volume 0 (the book) there is a number of clues given in red. I could not currently find a solution on explainxkcd or anywhere else on the internet. I therefore support the need for an incomplete flag. (talk) 16:43, 8 March 2024 (please sign your comments with ~~~~)