Fun vs Funny - Detailed Explanation

adjectives grammar short video lessons vocabulary Sep 02, 2021
fun vs funny

 

‘Fun’ and ‘funny’ have similar meanings which lead English language learners to use one for the other.  However, these words are not interchangeable.  The difference in meaning is slight but using them incorrectly can lead to confusion - and you may even offend someone by calling them ‘funny’ instead of ‘fun.’

Fun

‘Fun’ is either a noun or an adjective.  ‘Fun’ as an adjective is informal.  In formal situations, it’s better to say ‘enjoyable.’  

 

As a noun, it means pleasure or enjoyment.

 

“I had fun yesterday.”

“We are having fun.”

 

As an adjective it means enjoyable.

 

“This is fun.”

“The carnival is a lot of fun.”

Funny 

Funny is only an adjective and it has two meanings.

 

Funny means something causes laughter and something is humorous.

 

“The comedian is funny.”

“He tells funny jokes.”

 

However, funny also means strange, weird, difficult to explain or unexpected.

 

“A funny thing just happened to me on my way to work.  I met a man who said he knows my sister.  But I haven't got a sister.”

“The car is making a funny noise again.”

Differences Between Fun and Funny

Fun and funny are both adjectives but they have different meanings.  If something causes you to laugh then it is funny and if something is enjoyable then it is fun.  

 

We can use fun to describe anything enjoyable like a place, a person or a situation.  We use funny to talk about things that are humorous and make us laugh.  Funny also means strange, unexplainable or unexpected.  A funny person, place or situation that doesn’t make us laugh out loud is a strange person or place or an unexplainable situation.

 

If I say:

“Your country is fun!” 

I mean that I enjoyed my time in your country.  The people in your country and my experience in your country were enjoyable.

 

If I say:

“Your country is funny!”

I mean that your country is strange or weird.  I think the people in your country and my experience in your country were odd and I didn’t enjoy myself.

 

In the same way, if we want to say that someone or something makes us laugh then we can only use ‘funny.’

 

If I say:

“A comedian is a funny person.”

I mean that comedians make me laugh.

 

If I say:

“A comedian is a fun person.”

I mean that I enjoy spending time with comedians because we always have a fun time. 

 

The main difference:

We don’t always have to laugh to have fun.   Experiences can be fun because they are enjoyable.  We feel happy and entertained because of the experience even if we don’t laugh the whole time.  If an experience is funny then it has to make us laugh.  If it doesn’t make us laugh then funny means the experience was strange or weird.

Sentences Examples with Fun and Funny 

Fun:

“This party is fun.”

“I had a fun time last night.”

“He is a lot of fun.  I love going out with him.”

“Let’s do something fun today.”

“Thank you for visiting.  We had a lot of fun.”

 

Funny:

“He’s a very funny man.  He loves telling jokes.”

“I heard a really funny noise in my kitchen this morning.  I don’t know what it was.”

“She loves watching funny shows on TV.  She laughs the whole time.”

“I’m not very funny.  I’m bad at telling jokes.”

“They’re funny people.  I don’t really understand them.”

Questions That English Learns Ask About Fun and Funny

If you get confused between fun and funny, you’re not alone.  There are a lot of English language learners who have the same questions that you have about these two words.  Let’s have a look at some common questions non-native English learners have about fun and funny.  If you can master the use of these two words then you will sound like a native English speaker. 

It Was Funny or Fun 

“It was fun” means that the experience was enjoyable and you had a good time. 

 

“It was funny” has two possible meanings and its meaning depends on the context.

 

“It was funny” means that the experience made you laugh.  

“It was funny” also could mean the experience was strange and weird. 

 

The context of the situation and the person’s tone when saying ‘it was funny’ will make it clear if they mean funny (haha) or funny (strange).

Is It Correct to Say Very Fun?

We cannot say ‘very fun.’ It’s informal to use ‘fun’ as an adjective and ‘very fun’ sounds odd.  We can use ‘good’ or ‘great’ to describe ‘fun’ as a noun.’  We can use ‘lots of’ with ‘fun’ as an adjective or as a noun.

 

Examples:

“I had lots of fun yesterday.”

“It was good fun.”

“The party was great fun.”

“He is lots of fun to be around.”

  

Is So Fun Correct Grammar? 

‘So’ is an adverb and ‘fun’ is a noun.  This means that grammatically we cannot use ‘so’ to modify ‘fun.’  ‘So fun’ is incorrect.  However, we can add ‘much’ and modify ‘fun’ with ‘so much’ or ‘as much.’  ‘So much’ means ‘to a great degree,’ and ‘as much’ means ‘to the same degree as something else.’

 

Examples:

“The party was so much fun!”

“Harry’s party was as much fun as Paul’s party.”

Is It So Fun or Such Fun?

‘So fun’ and ‘such fun’ are both grammatically incorrect.  However, it’s important to remember that grammar follows the language and not the other way around.  Native English speakers often say ‘so fun’ and ‘such fun’ to say that an experience was a lot of fun.  Despite this, ‘so’ and ‘such’ cannot modify every noun.  We only make an exception with ‘fun.’ 

 

Every language has its rules and native English speakers sometimes break them.  A native English-speaking partner can teach you the rules of the English language and when to break the rules.

Is Fun an Adjective

We can use ‘fun’ as a noun and as an adjective.  We can use ‘fun’ as a noun in formal and informal situations, however, ‘fun’ as an adjective is usually only used informally.  In formal situations, it’s better to say ‘enjoyable’ to describe a fun situation.  

 

Examples:

“I had fun today.”

“Today was a fun day.”

“Today was an enjoyable day.”