Practice with Nouns and Determiners

The Funniest Jokes in History

reprinted without permission from
activity created by Daryl L. Beres

Read the first two paragraphs. Think about whether the noun should be singular or plural, and if it is count or non-count. Choose the correct answers from the drop-down lists, and then press "Check."

The Roman Cicero advised budding that physical is always a great source of comic . Perhaps the Romans got this nasty habit from the Greeks, who liked to make fun of their leader Pericles for having a head shaped like an . Some poor Pericles got for having the Parthenon built, and for transforming Athens into a center for art and . (You won't get to see Pericles's head here, by the way. Sculptors hid the on his head with a helmet.)

Over time, our of what is funny has changed. Today, people do not find birth defects and other physical to be a laughing matter.

Read the next two paragraphs. What articles should be used? Are the nouns generic, indefinite or specific? Choose the correct answers from the drop-down lists, and then press "Check."

Then what do we find funny? If you believe scientists at Britain's Laugh Lab, following joke is number one--according to the nearly 2 million people from around the world who visited the site and rated jokes:

A couple of New Jersey hunters are out in woods when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head. The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls emergency services. He gasps to the operator: “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator, in calm soothing voice says: “Just take it easy. I can help. First, let's make sure he's dead.” There is a silence, then shot is heard. The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says: “OK, now what?"

This joke, on the other hand, was rated "fowl":

Q. Why are chickens considered good employees?
A. Because they work around the cluck.

Maybe the chicken joke isn't funniest in the world, but I laughed as hard at it as I did at the one about the New Jersey hunters. Which is to say, not very hard. This just goes to show that we all have different tastes when it comes to humor , and also that people who liked this joke are idiots.