Saturday, December 13, 2008

The New Grammar

"After all, a set of action figures is funner than one," said Sammy.

Said statement was followed promptly by Mommy explaining, "For future knowledge, 'funner' is not a word. You need to use 'more fun'."

Said explanation was followed promptly by Daddy asking, "So, if it's in Merriam-Webster, does that make it a word?"

I couldn't believe that Merriam-Webster would have "funner" in their dictionary. How many times growing up were we told by English teachers that "funner" is not a word? It was hammered into us until we quit using it. Is that not your experience as well? So, I did a little checking around online, looking for an explanation as to why this non-word would be in the dictionary. Here's the gist of what I found:

The word "fun" was traditionally used solely as a noun and, being a noun, it could not be changed into a comparative word. After all, a book can 't become booker or bookest, can it? However, over time fun began to be used as an adjective and adjectives can be changed into comparatives. This use of the word gained in popularity, especially over the past 50 years. In fact, a scan of newspapers over the past ten years found over a thousand instances of the word funner. The bottom line is that English is an evolving language and it is now acceptable to use the words funner and funnest in spoken and written English. However, you may want to refrain from using these words in formal works for the time being.

Source: World Wide Words

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The Four Week Vegan said...

Ummm...I don't think so. I undertand the evolution of the word, but really should we reward a bad habit with legitimacy? Sorry, a bit of a pet peeve for me. I won't suggest the kids look it up next time I correct them, just in case it is in our dictionary as well.

Deb said...

I'm still not cool w/ the kids using funner - way more fun, more fun, way fun, etc. but no funner :)

Suswan said...

I didn't even know FUN was a noun! :-P

Luke Holzmann said...

Fiske would be horrified.

And, truth be told, so am I.