A reader asked whether we could shed some light on the correct use of the word fun; this is one of my pet peeves, so I’m only too happy to oblige.
I hear of people who had fun birthdays, movies that were funner than other movies, and vacations that were the funnest in the world. I even saw a category titled Funnest Party Boy on an ESPN list many years ago. Many of us are not amused—including my spell checker, which rejects both funner and funnest. On this, the software writers and I obviously agree. But back to the point…..
Fun is a noun, but it has become used as an adjective over time. Language changes, but we should be aware of WHY certain changes take place. Is it because there is a need for a more articulate way to say something, or is it because people started using the word in the wrong way, and no one bothered correcting the incorrect use?
Adjectives have comparative and superlative forms; nouns do not. For example, I have a large desk. (The adjective large tells what kind of desk. That’s what adjectives do—they answer the question what kind of.) I have a larger desk than you (comparative form). I have the largest desk in the office (superlative form).
Fun as an adjective is more of a non-standard form. I would stick to using it as the original noun that it has always been; however, if you must use it as an adjective (I had a fun time), then use more fun as the comparative form (the more fun of the two movies), not funner (the funner of the two movies), and most fun, not funnest, as the superlative form (the most fun vacation we’ve ever had).
Although many people now use the noun fun as an adjective, that doesn’t make it correct. Perhaps some modern dictionaries have acquiesced to the people who somehow have learned to use fun incorrectly as an adjective, so they list it as an adjective. I don’t know, but that wouldn’t change my mind. You do what you feel you must. I’m going to stick with what I consider to be a more educated usage: fun as a noun, not an adjective.
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