Project Summary
These Tom Swifties were exchanged by Josiane Waksberg's high school class in Canada.  Students enjoyed the humor in these, and they were a good break between longer telecomputing projects.  This is a great lesson for teaching adverbs.

Suggested Grade Level and Audience
7th to 12th

Estimated Time Required
2-3 weeks

Student Learning Objectives

  • To understand humorous statements, puns, and plays on words
  • To practice sentence writing using adverbs
  • To practice word processing
  • To practice writing, editing, and revising
  • To participate in a cooperative writing activity with distant audiences

Writing Prompt

Adverbs are parts of speech that tell how, when, and where.  They often end in "ly."  In small groups, brainstorm a list of adverbs that tell how. Next, think of some humorous statements to go along with the adverbs being careful to "play on words."  Look at the samples below sent by high school students in Canada to get some idea of how to write Tom Swifties. With a little imagination, your group can come up with some very humorous TeleTomSwifties. The best ones were exchanged with distant sites and published in an anthology.


  • "Who won the race?" asked Tom hoarsely.
  • "I'm going swimming," said Tom dryly.
  • "Who bought this candy?" asked Tom sweetly.
  • "You ate the lemon meringue pie!"  shouted Tom crustily.
  • "Hey you shouldn't have squashed me!" said Tom crushingly.
  • "Look at the Titanic," said Tom profoundly.
  • "You are a nice midget," said Tom shortly.
  • "He's having an attack!" said Tom heartily.
  • "You have a nice light fixture," said Tom brightly.
  • "School is boring," said Tom dully.
  • "This knife is dull," said Tom bluntly.
  • "Go move to the Sahara," said Tom dryly.
  • "These chocolates taste awful!" said Tom candidly.



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