How to use Double Entendre
As mentioned, successfully using double entendres in your work requires careful thought, planning, and word choice. But, overall the way to use them is to make people laugh! Your words should be clever, witty and humorous, but subtle at the same time—that’s what makes double entendres so funny. There are several things to consider:
- Who is the target audience for the double entendre?
- Who else will understand it?
- What’s the first meaning for the words you’re using?
- Do they make sense (on both levels) in the situation in which you’re using them in?
- Will the audience understand the double entendre without further explanation or clarification (you shouldn’t have to explain the joke)?
After considering these things, the rest is up to you and your creativity. There’s no limit for double entendres—you can essentially turn any word or phrase into a joke if you want to!
When to use Double Entendres
Naturally, double entendres belong in comedy. They’re an especially perfect device to use for mixed audiences, as younger readers or viewers will understand the words for their literal meaning, while more mature audiences will be able to pick up the humor behind the words. At the same time, you want to make sure that your double entendres will be understood by someone in the audience, so it is important to consider who they will be. For instance, if you are writing specifically for children, you don’t want to use a lot of risqué double entendres—aside from it being inappropriate, no one would understand them! But, as mentioned, if you have a family audience, like many popular sitcoms today (see Examples in Popular Culture), then double entendres can help you make all ages laugh while not being too racy for young ears.