Tuesday, January 25, 2011

So You Think You're Fun or Funny?

Do you know the difference between "fun" and "funny"?  Did you have a lot of fun or Did you have a lot of funny?  Did you think "The movie was very funny" or "The movie was very fun"?

Take the following quiz:  Write either "fun" or "funny" in each blank, as appropriate:

  1. Yesterday we went sledding. It was a lot of _________.
  2. That movie was really _______.  I couldn't stop laughing.
  3. We had a really ______ time.  Thanks!
  4. You and I never have any ______ anymore.
  5. He's always laughing at his own jokes; he thinks he's really ______.
  6. We had the most ______ at Disney World.
  7. That sledding was the most ______ I've had in ages!
  8. That joke wasn't ________ at all.

The simple fact is that "fun" and "funny" have clearly different meanings. 

Something that is funny is something that makes you laugh.  A person may be funny (i.e. this person makes you laugh), a movie or book may be funny (i.e. the book or movie made you laugh), or a joke may be funny (i.e. the joke makes you laugh).  Notice in the sentences below that "funny" is an adjective (and the noun it describes is in blue):

  • That movie was really funny.  I couldn't stop laughing.
  • He's always laughing at his own jokes; he thinks he's really funny.
  • That was a really funny book.
  • That joke wasn't funny at all.

Something that is fun provides amusement and enjoyment.  The word "fun" is generally used as a noun.  It is a non-count noun.

  • On weekends, I like to relax and have fun.
  • We had the most fun at Disney World.
  • You and I never have any fun anymore.

  • That sledding was the most fun I've had in ages!

A person can be a lot of fun to be around, but usually we refer to an activity as being fun. We use "fun" as an adjective in this sense. This is being used in conversation more and more, but not appropriate for writing.

  • We had a really fun time.  Thanks!
  • That was a fun book.

Grammatically, the words are very different.  In the following blanks, which word belongs?

  • a  very   ____   book*
  • the most ______ **

To understand these words better, tell us, in the comment field, a funny joke.  Tell us about a movie that was very funny. Tell us about something that you like doing that is a lot of fun.

  *  funny
 ** fun

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