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  1. #1
    tien-sung is offline Junior Member
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    Question where is the humor ?

    Hymn 43: “Great God, what do I see here?” Preacher: The Rev. Horace Blodgett
    Hymn 47: “Hark! An awful voice is sounding”


    The above joke was quoted from church bulletins.

    But I really don't know where the humor is.

    Could you please tell me the key point of the joke? Thank you.

    From Tien-sung (Taipei)

  2. #2
    Koronas is offline Member
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    Default Re: where is the humor ?

    Question: "Great God, what do I see here?"
    Answer: The Rev. Horace Blodgett
    Remark: "Hark! an awful voice is sounding"

  3. #3
    tien-sung is offline Junior Member
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    Question Re: where is the humor ?

    I still cannot catch the humor point through Korons's explantion.

    Can you please explain a bit more ? Thank you.



    From Tien-sung

  4. #4
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    Barb_D is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: where is the humor ?

    The implication is that the Reverend's sermon would be an awful voice sounding.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. #5
    tien-sung is offline Junior Member
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    Question Re: where is the humor ?

    Thanks to Korons and Barb D. But I don't think your answers are good.

    Why the hymn 43 uses "see" ,the hymn 47 uses "sound"? Can we use

    "hear" instead "see"?

    And, can we use "thrilling" replace "aweful"?

    Thank you.

    From Tien-sung (Taipei)

  6. #6
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: where is the humor ?

    You see him first, then you hear him.

    Mind you, this is a very weak joke IMO.

    Thrilling cannot replace awful without changing the meaning.

  7. #7
    tien-sung is offline Junior Member
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    Question Re: where is the humor ?

    Hymn 43: “Great God, what do I see and hear?"

    Modern verse Hymn 47 uses " thrilling "



    From Tien-sung

  8. #8
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: where is the humor ?

    The names of the hymns are the names of the hymns. You can't change them just to make the "joke" funnier or have it make more sense. Different churches will have different translations used in their hymnals. I'm sorry you don't think the answer is a good one, but it is what it is.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  9. #9
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: where is the humor ?

    The joke is better when you take into account that when the second hymn was written 'awful' had the primary sense of 'awe-inspiring'. It is only relatively recently (in the course of the 20th century) that 'awful''s primary meaning has become 'very bad/unpleasant'.

    A lot of hymns use words in a way that has an unwanted meaning today. The writer of 'Gladly the cross I'd bear' had presumably not considered the relatively modern adjective 'cross-eyed' - which makes the hymn seems to be about a bear called 'Gladly'.

    b

  10. #10
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: where is the humor ?

    Another unknowing pun, I've just realized, is in the first two words. When the hymn was written 'Great God' was clearly addressed to God, calling him 'Great'. Today, 'Great God' at the beginning of an utterance is always a rather polite expression of surprise - rather like 'Goodness gracious' or 'Good Heavens', 'Good grief' or - in a less formal register - 'Holy mackerel'; in even less formal registers, you can substitute almost any cuss word you like for 'mackerel'.

    b

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