We sometimes hear people say “Oh, that was funner” and it’s like the world stops. Somewhere in the world, someone starts scratching her nails on a blackboard. But wait a minute! Why CAN’T you say “funner?” I doubt many people know WHY they can’t say it. All they know is that it’s a no-no. So Grading Girl would like to discuss why “funner” isn’t a word.
What is “fun?”
Well, I think dancing is fun. I think working out is fun. Ohhhhhhhhh, you want to know about the WORD fun. Ok, let’s do it. Fun has generally been considered a noun in the past – meaning it’s a person, place, thing, or idea. A noun can’t have superlative forms. For example, you wouldn’t say that “The white dog is dogger than the black one.” Dog is a noun. It cannot be more or less than “dog.”
Due to our ever-evolving English language, however, (see my essay on our crazy English language, Do Fingers Fing?)it has now become an adjective. Most one-syllable adjectives we can add an er or est to, such as “hotter/hottest.” Yet in this case, we still hold on the to notion of its “noun” usage, and say “more fun” or the “most fun.” Even though it’s still in debate if we can say “funner,” I’m sure you’ve heard someone say “funnest” and haven’t cringed. The extreme superlative seems to be more common and accepted than the middle one.
Although the words are in most dictionaries, it is still not considered “proper” to say funner or funnest. Perhaps over time it will become accepted, but until then Grading Girl suggests saying “more” or “most” “fun.” It sounds better!
I am notorious for finding easy tricks to remember a grueling grammar rule. I hear this grammar goof ALL the time.
When to Use We or Us
It can be tricky but there is an easy way to decide whether to use we or us in sentences that contain statements such as “we bloggers” or “us girls.”
Simply remove the noun from the sentence and decide which pronoun would be used on its own.
We bloggers were introduced first at the conference.
(“We were introduced first at the conference” is correct whereas “Us were introduced at the conference” is incorrect.)
That movie didn’t frighten us girls at all.
(“That movie didn’t frighten us at all” is correct whereas “That movie didn’t frighten we at all” is incorrect.)
A friend of mine was reading my blog over the weekend when he discovered a discrepancy. In the blog about my mother, he correctly noted that I said, “Her caring doesn’t stop with my brother or I” when I should have stated “. . . doesn’t stop with my brother or me.” The incorrect usage of “I” and “me” is a common occurrence and Grading Girl apparently bears no exception! Luckily for us all, this is very simple to correct.
“I” versus “Me”
“I” is a pronoun that must be the subject of a verb. “Me” is a pronoun that must be the object of the verb. The easiest way to remember the two is to remove the other noun from the sentence and see if it still makes sense.
Examples of the Correct Use of “I”
Natalie and I went to the beach this weekend.
[I went to the beach this weekend. (Me went to the beach this weekend doesn’t make sense.)]
She and I have to make a cake!
[I have to make a cake. She has to make a cake. (Her has to make a cake and me has to make a cake do not make sense.)]
Examples of the Correct Use of “Me”
Please come with Jessica and me to the concert.
[Please come with me to the concert. (Please come with I to the concert doesn’t make sense.)]
Mini-Lesson 2 is brought to you by American Idol. This evening as my daughter and I watched one of our favorite shows,American Idol , Grading Girl couldn’t help but hear some grammar goofs. Granted the contestants are chosen based on how they sing, not how they speak, but perhaps they could be a little more cognizant of their language. After all, only about 17.5 million people are viewing the show.
Contestant Lil Rounds made a faux pas when she described herself this way: “I did good.” Grading Girl nearly cringes every time she hears this mistake ~
Good vs. Well
Good is an adjective, meaning that it modifies nouns.
Well is an adverb, meaning it modifies verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.
*That song is good. (Good is modifying the noun, song)
*You played that song very well. (Well is modifying the verb, played)
In Lil Round’s sentence, “well” should replace “good” because it is modifying the verb, “did.”
Characteristic of the crazy English language (see essay titled “Do fingers fing?“), there is an exception: “Well” may be used when describing something healthy, proper, or suitable. Example: I am well today.
Grading Girl also couldn’t help but hear Matt Giraud say, “Sing it how it’s supposed to be sang.” Uh, maybe American Idol should hire Grading Girl as a speech consultant.
GG Mini Lesson: Quote vs. Quotation
Let’s set the record straight, dear readers. I hear students and teachers alike mistakenly use these interchangeably. There is a difference between quote and quotation.
To quote (verb) is to repeat the exact words of another, providing acknowledgement of the original source.
GG’s example ~ After talking aloud to no one in particular, I justified myself by quoting my mother, “As long as you don’t talk back, it’s okay.” Thanks for the validation, Mom!
A quotation (noun) is a phrase or sentence from a book, a speech, or another text that reflects a particular thought.GG’s example ~ I shared a beautiful quotation in class today from the book Unwind by Neal Shusterman: “It’s amazing that something as simple as a kiss can overpower the worst of worries.” So true!