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What's the adjective pertaining to fun?

I wondered, because a quiz in Saturday's Guardian objected to fun being used as an adjective. And funny means something else.

Amusing doesn't really cut it either, enjoyable maybe.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2009 12:07 pm (UTC)
... entertaining?
Sep. 7th, 2009 12:46 pm (UTC)
That suggests a passivity that not necessarily present in fun, but it's close.

And given that it's you, what are French for fun and for bully? It's not a test, I couldn't really say.
Sep. 7th, 2009 01:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I've certainly heard 'fun' used as an adjective, as in 'Elle est plutot fun'. Otherwise you'd go with various flavours of 'amusant'.

As for bully, there's no obvious translation that springs to mind. Perhaps there are no bullies in France? I can see ways of explaining the concept using 'intimider', but there would be a certain amount of circumlocution involved. Nothing as pithy and emotive as 'bully'. There's 'brute', but it's less specific, more 'thug' than 'bully' ...
Sep. 7th, 2009 01:56 pm (UTC)
Funnish. Funly? Funtastically.
Sep. 7th, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
Sep. 7th, 2009 07:24 pm (UTC)
Sep. 8th, 2009 09:16 am (UTC)
People object to all sorts of word usages, but that usually says more about them than it does about the usages. "Fun" as an adjective is perfectly OK. Without having a citing dictionary to hand, I'm prepared to bet that it's been used that way almost as long as it has as a noun.
Sep. 8th, 2009 10:19 am (UTC)
OED doesn't have it as an adjective although it does have fun-fest (1918), fun fair (1925) and fun run (1976) and there's "Fun jottings; or, Laughs I have taken pen to" in 1853.

But yeah, language changes, deal with it.

The actual construction to which they objected was 'As fun as it was ...', which should have been 'Amusing as it was ...'
Sep. 8th, 2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
So they would also object presumably to "It was fun", preferring "It was amusing"? That's just crazy.
Sep. 8th, 2009 05:09 pm (UTC)
You can say "it was fun" because that's a predicate nominative. But you wouldn't say funner because fun is not an adjective. That's why it's funnier because funny is.
Sep. 9th, 2009 07:21 am (UTC)
Gah, that article is sheer nonsense even on its own terms.

like any noun, fun can be a predicate nominative. So we say, "That game is fun."

Predicate nominative would be eg "that game is baseball". It conveys identity between the subject and the predicate (or that the predicate stands for the subject in some looser or metaphorical sense). "That game is fun" would only be predicate nominative if the user meant to imply that the game was the very definition of fun, which clearly is not the general usage. If "that game is fun" is acceptable, it can only be because "fun" here is an adjective.

Also: As with most nouns, we can speak of something being or having more fun. Name me another noun X of which we can speak of something "being more X". There are none. We only use "being more X" of adjectives.

And, obviously, "funny" is not the adjective form of "fun", as they claim: it means something quite different.

This is what really gets on my goat about usage prescriptivists. Far more often than not, they either don't obey their own arbitrarily-concocted rules, or else (as in this case) they're actually linguistically and grammatically illiterate.

It would be quite sufficient to say "fun as an adjective is generally not used in formal language". There is no need, other than a twisted desire to moralize, to try and claim that fun as an adjective is in some way "wrong".
Sep. 9th, 2009 09:09 am (UTC)
Nice new icon. I think I'll step away now, before you bite someone.

But before I go, note that a conspiracy of Steves, including me, is on your side: Stephen Fry and Steven Pinker with this treat:
Language pedants hew to an oral tradition of shibboleths that have no basis in logic or style, that have been defied by great writers for centuries, and that have been disavowed by every thoughtful usage manual. Nonetheless, they refuse to go away, perpetuated by the Gotcha! Gang and meekly obeyed by insecure writers.
Sep. 9th, 2009 09:21 am (UTC)
Nice turn of phrase Prof Pinker!

(Everett True is my ultimate gah! icon, fortunately not used very often.)
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )