Jordan Ogren

December 15, 2021

10 ways to add humor to your writing.

What is a secret to writing few understand and use?

It’s not the em dash (—) or exclamation point (!).

It’s humor.

Think about how much humor improves a conversation. Without it, life is dull (ask my wife, I’m horrible with humor).

The same is true for your writing.

“Humor reduces the distance between the writer and reader.” — Stephen Wilbers.

When you can inject humor into your writing, your reader feels more connected. Not only that, but it also helps your writing have a more significant effect. Stephen explains why:

“{Humor} makes readers and listeners pay attention, and it helps them remember what they’ve heard.”

So how do you become funnier? That question is far above my pay grade. 

But I can offer–with Stephen’s help–ten types of humor that will improve your writing.

  1. Paradox: An apparently contradictory statement that contains an element of truth
  2. Situational irony: Conveys the disparity between perception and reality
  3. Verbal irony: Conveys the disparity between literal and implied meaning
  4. Sarcasm: Involves disparaging or making fun of someone or something (a form of verbal irony)
  5. Ridicule: A harsh form of sarcasm
  6. Understatement: A form of verbal irony that produces subtle humor.
  7. Overstatement: A form of verbal irony that tends to produce more outlandish humor (exaggeration or hyperbole)
  8. Self-deprecating humor (My favorite): This pokes fun at the speaker and is least likely to offend
  9. Wit: The clever use of language to produce a comic twist or surprise
  10. Puns: A play on words that are identical or similar in sound but have vastly different meanings

Now, mastering any of those ten is another post for another day. But now that you know what they are, you’re able to add a few to your writing stack.

I find #4, 6, 7, 8 and to be the most straightforward and accessible. 

Which do you feel you can begin using right away to inject humor into your writing to increase its effectiveness?

🧠 + ❤️ // JO