Funner and Funnest

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Thu May 25 17:05:46 UTC 2006

At 10:00 AM -0400 5/25/06, Baker, John wrote:
>   M-W already allows "sometimes funner" and "sometimes
>funnest."  American Heritage, in contrast, still cautions that writers
>may want to avoid the use of fun as an attributive adjective, as in a
>fun time, a fun place - a usage that seems to me to be entirely
The thing about these last two uses is that they don't unambiguously
involve *adjectival* occurrences of "fun".  The "fun" of "fun place"
can instead be an attributive or modifying noun, resulting in a
noun-noun compound.  Of course the "funner" and "funnest" cases
necessarily involve adjectival use, as would "That seems/remained
fun", "How fun was that?", etc.  Assuming "seem" subcategorizes for
adjectives and not nouns, "X seems fun" might represent the tipping
point, or perhaps the analytic comparative "X was even more fun than
Y".  The synthetic comparatives/superlatives would confirm the
conversion, and they've been around (especially in children's speech,
as you've noted) for some time.


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