Friday, February 19, 2010

The New York Times is Full of Meh Today-- Mad Libs Words and Some Rules to Play By

The NYT is full of meh. Rather than waste a perfectly good Mad Libs day on meh, I thought I'd spice it up a little and Mad Libs one of my own entries from this week.

It was also pointed out to me last week that not everyone may fully understand Mad Libs 'round these parts, so I thought I'd also put together this handy-dandy little Guide To Mad Libs. I'm not too proud to admit I may not have the firmest definition on all of these myself, so if I'm wrong or you can explain it better, please do so in the comments! If you're well-versed in Mad Lib-ology, go ahead and skip to the words at the bottom.

I'll start with the bare basics. Mad Libs is a game where you take a previously-written work and remove key words, leaving blank spaces to fill in with similar-functioning words (noun for noun, verb for verb) resulting in humorous or strangely-apropos new writing. Each week, I generally select a paragraph from the top New York Times article to turn into my Mad Lib, but on occasion I will deviate (such as now).

Here's a basic rundown of the word types I often use in my Mad Libs:

Noun-- A person, place, or thing. Zookeeper, garden, or tennis ball are examples.

Proper Noun-- A named person, place, or thing. Mrs. Smith, Disneyland, and French's Mustard are examples.

Plural Noun-- More than one. Dogs, cats, buckets.

Verb-- an action word. Generally, they formally start with "to", though we remove this for sake of the Mad Lib unless otherwise noted. Run, walk, and jog are examples.

Conjugated Verbs-- I will occasionally modify the type of verb I'm looking for to make sure your answer matches the context of the original sentence/ paragraph. Sometimes I'll ask for a Verb That Ends in -ed, like melted. Or a Present-Tense Verb, like melts.

The much-bedraggled, nobody-likes-me-they-all-just-USE-me-sob! Adverb-- These modify/further define verbs, and almost always end in -ly. Ran crookedly. Stood stoically. Shopped maniacally. Etc.

Adjective-- I often get these mixed up with adverbs, I *usually* manage to catch myself before it publishes. Ahem. Anyway, these are descriptive words, usually used to describe nouns. The red fish. The angular coffee table. The insane tiny black cat. That last one actually has three adjectives.

Some other popular word types I ask for:

Name: This one's usually up to you. It can be Snorfle VonTufflebottoms or just Snorfle. Your pick.

Last Name: Usually last name only. Smith, Johnson, Cox. Aha. Ahahahaha. Yes, I am 12 today.

World/ Land/ City, real or imaginary/fictional: Give me a world or land or city that's real or imaginary, your pick. Narnia, Earth, Tufflebottomopolis, etc.

So that's pretty much it, or at least all I can think of right now. I'll edit this post as I come across others (or if any common ones I missed you leave in the comments). Playing is pretty simple, just leave one answer for each word type I ask for on the day of. I'll post the results the Monday (or soonest possible) after.

Without any further ado, here's today's words:

Verb ending in -ing
Verb ending in -ing
Plural Noun
Verb ending in -ed

Leave your answers in the comments by Sunday evening and I'll post the results Monday!


  1. Verb ending in -ing- contemplating
    Noun- whiskey
    Verb- fondle
    Verb- pander
    Verb ending in -ing- meandering
    Adverb- slowly
    Noun- mouse
    Plural Noun- lice
    Verb ending in -ed- interrupted
    Noun- money

  2. Verb ending in -ing -- berating
    Noun -- scotch
    Verb -- caress
    Verb -- charm
    Verb ending in -ing -- racing
    Adverb -- cuttingly
    Noun -- armadillo
    Plural Noun -- cars
    Verb ending in -ed -- scolded
    Noun -- wombat