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Limericks — English Humorous Poems

Limericks are certainly not a modern invention. In fact, they are so old; nobody is quite sure how they started. To our mind the strongest and the most convincing point of view is that Irishmen began writing verses in a rather peculiar way. It was about 800 AD. They did not have jokes in them in those days but they all had five lines and they all went with a swing when you said them. We would like to draw your attention that nobody knows for sure why a limerick is called limerick, but it is also the name of one of the most famous towns in Ireland.

Looking deeper into information about limericks we have found that Irish soldiers sang the popular song “Will you come to Limerick?” In fact, a good limerick is not an easy thing to write. When you read them, you might think they are simple to invent, but they are not because there are rules you have to stick to. A limerick is composed of five lines, with lines one, two and five being longer than the third and fourth lines. That seems easy enough. However, there are strict rules that must be followed in the construction of these lines. The keyword is metre (meter). In a sense, the metre is the beat or the rhythm of the lines. Limericks are meant to be funny. They contain hyperbole, onomatopoeia, idioms, puns and other figurative devices. The last line of a good limerick contains the punch line or heart of the joke. As you work with limericks, remember to have pun, we mean fun! Say the following limericks out loud and clap to the rhythm. Limericks should generally follow proper rules of grammar and usage, with word orders as natural as possible. Of course, speech can be substandard; pretentious, stilted etc., when appropriate to the speaker. Punctuation should be standard, except for the first words of lines being capitalized. This genre can and does take more low usages than other form of poetry.

One of the first complete books of limericks to be published was called “A book of Nonsense”. It was published in 1846 and the author was Edward Lear.

1.There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,

Have all built their nests in my beard!'

2.There was an Old Man of Peru,

Who dreamt he was eating his shoe.
He awoke in the night
In a terrible fright

And found it was perfectly true!

3.There was an Old Man, who when little,

Fell casually into a kettle;
But growing too stout,
He could never get out,

So he passed all his life in that kettle.

Places to visit

Some rules.


The relative pronouns in English are who, which, that and whose. Whom is also used by some people but is considered by many to be too formal.

A relative pronoun introduces a relative clause:

This is the table which I bought.

This is the table = the main clause
I bought = the relative clause
which = the relative pronoun joining the two clauses. Relative pronouns. We can use who or that when we talk about people.

Who is more formal than that.This is the man who helped us. (more formal)

This is the man that helped us. (less formal)

We don’t use what:
This is the man what helped us.We use which or that when we talk about things (but not people).

Which is more formal than that.It's the watch which my husband bought me for my birthday. (more formal)

It's the watch that my husband bought me for my birthday. (less formal)In informal speech, we can omit which and that when the pronoun refers to the object of the sentence.It's the watch my husband bought me for my birthday.

In this sentence, 'the watch' is the object of the verb bought so we don’t need to use that or which.We cannot omit which and that when the pronoun refers to the subject of the sentence. It was the man that sold me the car.

In this sentence, 'the man' is the subject of the verb sold so we need to use that orwho.

It was the man sold me the car.We use whose to show possession.John, whose brother was also a musician, plays over 100 concerts every year.


Present simple passive

Indirect questions

Comment Stream

3 years ago

I did your exersise.It was quite interesting,but too easy.