Tips for Writing a Limerick

Priya Johnson May 4, 2019
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Limericks are five-line, funny, light-hearted, witty poems, composed with the primary purpose of humoring the listeners. With a bit of practice, rhyming, and silliness, these short poems make excellent ice-breakers at all kinds of occasions.

Writing Funny Limericks

Limericks are popularly used in nursery rhymes and kids' poetry, to make learning fun. Because of their tune and rhythm, children are able to repeat the lines.

Limerick writing is an art as well as a science. There are certain rules that need to be kept in mind, while at the same time, they need a flair for creativity and humor that cannot be taught.

Limerick Rules

In a limerick, the last words of the first, second, and fifth lines must rhyme, while the last words of the third and fourth lines must rhyme with each other (AABBA Rhyme Pattern).

The first, second, and fifth lines are longer with three meters (stressed syllables), while the third and fourth lines are shorter with only two meters.

How to Write a Limerick

Step 1: Decide a Name or Place

Usually the first line ends with a name of a person and place, introducing where and about whom the poem revolves around.

Think of a person you want the limerick to be about – boy, girl, man, woman, baby, etc. Now, add a name and place to them.

Step 2: Peculiar Characteristic

Since limericks are supposed to be hilarious, it’s important to give the character a strange characteristic or peculiar feature. This will give direction, depth, and humor to the limerick.

Step 3: Rhyming Pattern

For the next three lines, string the character and their peculiar feature, along with rhyming words according to the AABBA pattern. This rhythm is very important for a good limerick. Play with words until you achieve a catchy rhythm.

Step 4: Climax Line

The last line is the most important, because it’s usually the line with the silly, unexpected event that leaves the listeners giggling. Turn their oddity into something funny and unexpected in the fifth line.

Step 5: Rhythm

The five lines when read in one go must have a nice rhythm to it; each line harmonizing with the next and flowing smoothly. It should be so engaging that it turns into an earworm!
Limericks are easy to construct, however, to get a hang of it, one may need a bit of practice. Once the basics are clear, it’s not long before you begin humoring family and friends with the short poetic pieces of wit and humor.