play fun funner funnest
Usage Notes

Fun, Funner, Funnest

Why does it sound strange to say 'funner' or 'funnest?'


Welcome to Ask the Editor. I'm Emily Brewster, an associate editor at Merriam-Webster.
- I've never been to a funner party.
- It was the funnest party I can remember.
As a one-syllable adjective, fun should by all rights have the comparative and superlative forms funner and funnest, just like new has newer and newest. But, spellcheckers and lots of people think funner and funnest are just plain wrong.
The not-quite-kosher status of funner and funnest has its origin in the adjectival status itself of fun. Just as funnest party sounds strange to many of us, there are a number of people who also object to sentences like, "The party was really fun."
They'd prefer we all use fun only as a noun.
- We had great fun.
- The party was such fun.
Adjectival use dates back at least as far as the 1840s, but until the mid-20th century, it was pretty rare. Perhaps there was something about postwar America that just felt, oh, more fun to people than a noun could express.
Fun as a noun does continue to be more common, and there are still some who think uses like so fun, very fun, and fun times should be avoided in any kind of serious discourse, but their numbers are dwindling, and the adjective fun is fully accepted by a number of dictionaries, including ours.
Does this mean funner and funnest are destined for full acceptance, too? Certainly possible. Likely, even.
More fun and most fun are still the usual comparative and superlative forms of fun, but funner and funnest are included in our dictionaries, with a sometimes label, because we have plenty of evidence of them in published, edited text.
They're most natural when paired with other similar adjectives; a bigger and funner event, the funnest and funniest person.
I say, don't hesitate to use them if you're inclined to. It'll be funner if you do.
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