Fun, Funner, Funnest

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


play fun funner funnest
257,635 views
Featuring: Emily Brewster

TRANSCRIPT


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.
 
For more from our Ask the Editor series, visit merriam-webster.com.

Up Next

Autoplay
play fun funner funnest
Fun, Funner, Funnest

 

257,635 views

play merriam-webster eggcorns title page
What Is an Eggcorn?

 

22,917 views

play hot mess
Hot Mess

 

151,472 views

play mrs malaprop
What is a Malaprop?

 

135,790 views

play alright allright video
Alright vs. All Right

 

134,112 views

play there theyre their video
There, They're, Their

 

101,029 views

play sneaked vs snuck video
Sneaked vs. Snuck

 

55,243 views

play further vs farther video
Further vs. Farther

 

46,203 views

play video lay vs lie
Lay vs. Lie

 

314,035 views

play video old school grammar humorsome
Old-School Grammar

 

239,075 views

play video schwa
The Schwa

 

159,147 views

play video ie vs eg
i.e. vs. e.g.

 

166,246 views

play video its vs its
Its vs. It's

 

76,713 views

play video healthy vs healthful
Healthy vs. Healthful

 

105,526 views

play video between you and i or me
I vs. Me

 

67,256 views

play video literally
Literally

 

437,577 views

play video soup vs soop
Soop vs. Soup

 

72,588 views

play video hopefully
Hopefully

 

90,049 views

play video who vs whom
Who vs. Whom

 

82,408 views

play video affect vs effect
Affect vs. Effect

 

112,438 views