Words to confuse you | Easily confused words for language learners:
Is it Fun or Funny?
Something I am hearing from students a lot at the moment is the use of funny so it’s time to talk about it here and clear up any confusion.
Here are some things I have heard recently:
My weekend was funny.
The football game was funny.
My recent holiday was funny.
I enjoy going to the beach because it’s funny.
New York is a funny city to visit.
Are these examples fun or funny to read?
Part of the confusion is that fun and funny are both used to talk about mostly happy things but they don't mean the same thing. Depending on the situation - the football game really did make you laugh - but the general rule is we don’t use funny to mean enjoyable.
You may be thinking, but funny can be connected to something that amused you or made you laugh so then doesn’t that makes it enjoyable?
Funny is an adjective and it means amusing or to make you laugh.
1. a: How would you describe Gergo? b: Well. I think he’s very smart and he’s a great chef. I also think he’s genuinely funny.
2. I think the Graham Norton show is very funny. I just laugh so much when I watch his show.
Funny can also mean strange, surprising, unexpected or difficult to explain or understand:
1. A funny thing happened the other day my dog tapped me on the back with his paw to ask for a treat.
(A strange, unexpected thing happened)
2. Wasn’t it funny the way Anna ignored you all night at the party?
(It was strange)
So the typical error is, we don’t use funny to mean enjoyable.
1. The week I stayed with you in Stockholm was really fun and I found the city where you live very beautiful.
Not: The week I stayed with you in Stockholm was really funny …
Fun is an uncountable noun meaning pleasure and enjoyment:
1. We had such fun last night! Not: We had such funny last night
2. I hope you have fun! I did! Not: I hope you have funny! I did.
In informal speaking, we also use fun as an adjective:
We did a lot of fun group activities with Sonia today in my Oxinity class.
We also had a fun time getting to know each other.
Sonia made us laugh a lot, she is a very funny teacher!
I hope that clears up any confusion with these funny examples and that you had fun learning about them!
This is the first part of my “Words to confuse you” series 1.