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A Tom Swifty

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This play on words is known as a 'Tom Swifty'. It is a type of pun (joke) that plays on the relationship between the adverb and an action spoken in the dialogue. The sentence is usually in reported speech. Tom Swifty is a character who appears in a series of adventure stories written by the author Edward Stratemeyer. The pun in this case is on the adverb 'abstractly' as modern art is sometimes abstract.

  • "Fire!" yelled Tom alarmingly.
  • "I need a pencil sharpener," said Tom bluntly.
  • "I don't work here on a regular basis," said Tom casually.