Funner and Funnest

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Thu May 25 21:40:21 UTC 2006

Larry (the Cable Guy) and others of the Blue-Collar Comedy troupe use
"funner" and "funnest" regularly. But my impression is that they do it
only to be funny. ;-)


On 5/25/06, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
> Subject:      Re: Funner and Funnest
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> 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
> >unremarkable.
> >
> 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.
> Larry
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