I was watching the tv series, "The rest of us." And this week, Ellie makes this pun:

I stayed up all night wondering where the sun went...and then it dawned on me

She read it from the book by Will Livingston titled, "No Pun Intended: Volume Too". So I assume the joke includes some pun but I don't know where.

Or the joke is fun because the guy is stupid enough to stay up all night to figure out the simple fact?

I don't get why this joke is so funny.


1 Answer 1


"To dawn on" means "to begin to be understood or realized by (someone) for the first time." In that sense, "then it dawned on me" means "then I began to realize where the sun went" (because the sun started to rise).

But "to dawn" also means "to begin to grow light as the sun rises." In that sense, "then it dawned on me" means "then the sun grew bright on me with the sunrise." (This usage is unidiomatic but it would make sense to a native speaker.)

The joke is essentially that you can interpret "dawn on" as a transitive phrasal verb, or as an intransitive verb followed by a preposition. It depends on whether you take "it" to refer to "where the sun went" or to "the sun" itself.

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