Sunday, March 4

Fun or Funny?

These two words look very similar, but they are in fact perfectly different. They are a common cause of confusion and mistakes among learners.


First, in terms of meaning.

Funny” means able to make you smile or laugh. It is connected to comedy or humor. For example, a joke, Jim Carrey, Jim Carrey's movies, and pictures like these:

On the other hand, “Fun” means exciting. It is sometimes used to talk about people, but it is a rare case for a learner like you.

It is usually used to talk about an event or activity that can make you feel thrill or excitement.

For example:

images courtesy of stock.xchng

How to Use

Funny” is an Adjective. This means it is used to describe a Noun or a Pronoun. So it is easy enough to use.

But be careful what Noun or Pronoun you use. Because “Funny” can only talk about the source of the happy feeling, not the receiver.  

Learners normally mix these two up.

For example, imagine that you went to the cinema. You can say:

Jim Carrey’s movie was funny. (=OK)

But you can not say:

I was funny. (=X)

Another example: Your friend (a man) told a very good joke. You should say:

His joke is funny. (=OK)  - or –

He is funny. (=Ok)

But you can not say:

I am funny. (=X)

Got it?

The sentence “I am funny” is possible only if you wanna say that you are a funny person. If you can make many people laugh because you are good at comedy.

Note:Funny” has another meaning which can be a bit negative. “Funny” sometimes means strange or unusual. But it depends on the situation so we’ll talk about this next time.

Fun is a Noun

Yes, you heard it right. The word “Fun” means something. It’s a Noun, not an Adjective.

This is often surprising for students too.

So, you cannot use it like an Adjective.


I am fun. (=X)

We are fun. (=X)

Instead, you have to use it like a Noun (something) such as “lesson,” “meal,” or “discussion.”


I had a lesson. (=OK)

We had a meal. (=OK)

They are having a discussion. (=OK)

I’m having fun. (=OK)

That’s why you can use it this way:

Ex. Your friend is going out.

See you! Have fun! (=OK)

Ex. Your friend is on the beach when you call him:

Are you having fun? (=Ok)

Ex. Your roommate just came back home from the dance club.

Did you have fun? (=OK)

Lastly, “Fun” is a Noun and it is an Uncountable Noun. So you cannot say:

We had a fun. (=X)

You should say:

We had fun. (=OK)

-- or --

We had a lot of fun. (=OK)

On the other hand, “Funny” is used this way:

It was very/ really funny. (=OK)

Hope you got it!


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