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!