Fun, Funner, Funnest – Merriam-Webster Ask the Editor


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 spell checkers 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 post-war America that just felt, oh more fun to people, than the 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

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Comments

  1. "Funner" and "funnest" feel awkward to me most of the time. "More fun" and "most fun" or even "much more fun" are easier on the ears. But yeah, guess it could be used in certain ways. "The funnest person" sounds odd to me, yet "the funniest person"  sounds okay. Weird.

  2. this is something that has troubled me all my life as a foreign English-speaker. most people taught me to use "funnier" and "funniest" as the correct ways to flex 'fun', although never quite explained how to use them correctly. funner and funnest does sound queer to me, but that's probably just first-time jitters

  3. I will always be anti-funner and anti-funnest.

    And I will be even more anti people trying to be politically correct with fun like they did a couple of years back when they tried to change the lyrics for Deck the Halls from 'don we now our gay apparel' to 'don we now our fun apparel.'

    'Fun' to me will always only be a noun.  I will never accept it as an adjective.

  4. If I were a student in America today I'd simply forget about anything to do with correct spelling, grammar, syntax and all such outdated nonsense. I'd simply shrug, call myself avant guard, and let the teachers prattle on while I played Angry Birds and stalked people on Facebook.

    Sry. I ment watevs wit all dat shit. Im avangard c? U be so old! Lol. Its like, wtf!!! XD.
    Kthnxbe.

  5. I love these videos, I've watched them all. I have an idea for a future video that I've been curious about. When I'm asked a negative question, such as "have you not eaten dinner?", If I only respond with yes or no then the answer is ambiguous. I'm learning a few other languages right now and I know in Japanese you would answer in the affirmative if you had not eaten dinner, and the negative if you had. Is there any reason that English seems to accept both affirmative and negative answers for both outcomes assuming you don't extend the answer, i.e. No, I have not eaten dinner or yes, I have not eaten dinner.

  6. Ack, I physically cringed at 1:46. But I've been trying to allow myself — almost to force myself — to say "funner" if it feels like the proper situation. I think it's inevitable that in time it will become naturally embedded into English. Language is the lifeblood of culture… just as our culture continues to mutate & progress, so must the language. Even if it feels awkward, eventually we have come to terms with it, because the next generation won't know the difference.

  7. Apparently, it no longer matters. When a guy like Steve Jobs says "funner", it's only a matter of time before it gets written in. So, if it hurts your ears, get used to it. Here it comes anyway!

  8. I was once told that fuller and fullest are not words, that full is just that, you can't get any fuller than full.

  9. Has anyone ever noticed how much easier it is to spot a mistake (if indeed it is a mistake) like "funner" or "stupider," compared to the superlative ("funnest," "stupidest"), which sound somehow…less wrong? Perhaps it's just my own language quirk, but to me a sentence such as "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard!" sounds fine, while a sentence such as "That's even stupider!" sounds undoubtedly wrong. Has anyone else noticed this?

  10. I often think english class has taken a backseat to many other subjects in school these days. I am 43.. have a 20 year old daughter and 10 year old son… my daughter had spelling and grammar in english class, as did I. My son, however is required to type assignments on line and they remind kids to use spell check option. In my daughters social studies class.. geography was almost extinct! My son, however had the 50 states and their capitals to learn this year in 4th grade…. he, however only had spelling briefly in the beginning of the year… I vividly remember spelling, punctuation, grammar, and penmanship!

  11. It's 2019 and still the British English dictionaries do not include funner or funnest in their online versions which are more up-to-date than the printed versions. It seems to be an American thing only.

    I am English and do not recognise Merriam-Webster as an official source for the English language. If anyone arguing with me about the use of the language tells me I am wrong on a point by citing Merriam-Webster as a source will get nothing but ridicule from me. The language comes from England, not America! In most cases I will accept American alternatives to words when they are referenced in English sources but as "funner" and "funnest" are not in the top 2 English sources online I do not accept they are valid 😛

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