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Tom Swiftlies – also known as Tom Swifties

Fun with verbal adjectives

"I'd like to make a toast,"; Tom said warmly.  This kind of a pun is called a Tom Swiftly (not a Tom Swifty, as given on some Internet sites) as a ridicule of the writing style found in the old Tom Swift adventure books; i.e., too often putting an adverb (typically ending in ly) after a quotation.  There are some Tom Swiftlies that are strictly verbal puns like “That is a sick bird,” said Tom illegally.  (It would be a literal pun if the spelling were illeaglely.)  All the ones shown here are literally accurate, relying on the double meaning of a word, or part of a word, for the pun. For mathematical Tom Swiftlies (or Tom Swifties) check out Mr. P's Math Page.

“Quick, what’s my name?” asked Tom swiftly.

“I hate math,” Tom added.

“I’ve got a new watch,” Tom said with abandon.

“Sorry, what I said was a no-brainer?” asked Tom absentmindedly.

“I hear a brook,” Tom babbled.

“Fish seem to like me,” Tom said with baited breath.

“This is the wrong tree,” Tom barked as he climbed up.

“I’m in the shower,” called out Tom barely audible.

“Getting rid of acid is easy,” said Tom basically.

“We can’t let the fire die out,” Tom bellowed.

“I knew the gun wasn’t loaded,” Tom said blankly.

“Do you think I’m a dull person?” Tom asked bluntly.

“Where’s my pants?” asked Tom briefly.

“For goodness sakes, use a broom,” Tom bristled.

“Strike three,” Tom called out.

“There’s someone at the front door,” Tom chimed in.

“I feel a draft,” Tom said coolly.

“There’s no place for the kitchen sink,” said Tom counterproductively.

“I’m a broken man,” Tom cracked.

“Our situation is pretty grave,” said Tom cryptically.

“Life isn’t fair,” said Tom darkly.

“I want to be your best friend,” Tom said doggedly.

“Lights, camera, action!” Tom said directly.

“Don't call me a oddball,” Tom replied evenly.

“I can talk faster than you,” Tom expressed.

“Come up to my apartment,” Tom said flatly.

“I’m not myself, today,” said Tom, being frank.

“Yes, we have no bananas,” Tom said fruitlessly.

“Let’s spice it up,” said Tom gingerly.

“I've dug myself into a hole,” Tom said gravely.

“Who goes there!” the soldier called out haltingly.

“Melinda broke my heart,” Tom said half-heartedly.

“I clubbed a diamondback snake with a spade,” Tom said heartlessly.

“The devil made me do it,” Tom implied.

“Has the bear gone away?” asked Tom intently.

“I can lend you the money,” Tom said with interest.

“I’m on the green,” Tom lied.


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“I pulled a hamstring,” said Tom limply.

“I’m going window shopping,” said Tom listlessly.

“I’m just an average guy,” said Tom meanly.

“I write elevator music,” Tom noted.

“I used to feed the lions at the zoo,” said Tom offhandedly.

“Sesame,” said Tom openly.

“Let’s sort this out,” Tom ordered.

“I’ve been waiting to see the doctor,” said Tom patiently.

“I can see you,” peeped Tom with his hands over his eyes.

“I’m here,” said Tom presently.

“I got demoted,” Tom admitted privately.

“I teach economics at the university,” Tom professed.

“Once again, I read it on Wikipedia,” Tom recited.

“I think we were cheated,” Tom recounted.

“I see myself as an open-minded person,” Tom said upon reflection.

“I'm your mother's brother's father-in-law's son,” Tom related.

“Here is your hamburger,” said Tom with relish.

“We’d like a table for two,” said Tom without reservation.

“"I will file a counter suit against you," Tom retorted,” Tom retorted.

“That's more or less correct,” Tom said roughly.

“Cut it out!” said Tom sharply.

“I only use one herb when I cook,” said Tom sagely.

“Wool is better than cotton,” Tom said sheepishly.

“So, it’s a duel you want!” Tom shot back.

“Damn it, look at the camera!” Tom snapped.

“It only looks like cocaine,” Tom snorted.

“I lost my pants in the stock market,” Tom speculated.

“I'm from Missouri,” Tom stated.

“I'm not gay,” Tom said with a straight face.

“I have no idea,” said Tom thoughtlessly.

Tom spoke tirelessly. “And then someone stole my bicycle wheels.”

“I was raised in a foster home,” said Tom transparently.

“I need some suspenders for my pants,” Tom upheld.

“Absolutely, totally, completely,” Tom uttered.

“I’d like to make a toast,” Tom said warmly.

“If I die, you get everything,” said Tom willingly.

“Would you stop horsing around!” yelled Tom woefully.