A lot of Minnesotans want to know: Is 'funner' a word or not?


"Is 'funner' a word?"

A lot of Minnesotans have that question apparently, and look to Google to find the answer.

Estately, a real estate company, used Google autocomplete to put together "hundreds" of questions that get typed into the search engine.

They then looked at which questions each state and Washington D.C. Googles more than any other. (So this isn't the most-Googled questions in a state – just the one that's Googled more in Minnesota than anywhere else in the U.S.)

Minnesota is apparently very grammar-conscious, because our result was: "Is 'funner' a word?"

Here's the map of results:

Wait, so is 'funner' a word or not?

Long story short: Technically it might not be, but it's used so frequently (as is "funnest") that most people agree it's acceptable.

The debate has to do with whether fun is just a noun – or if it can also be used as an adjective.

The word "fun" is first and foremost listed asa noun. It's a concept, a thing.

So under these rules you would say, "I had fun at the party."

You would not say, "The party was fun," because that turns fun into an adjective. It's describing the party, Grammar Girl explains.

For more than 200 years, fun was only a noun, Writing Explained says. But people started using it differently in the early- to mid-1900s, and began describing things as fun.

'Funner' used more frequently now

Over the past 35 years, Google's Ngram Viewer shows the term "funner" has appeared more often in books than it ever has (though it still is used way less often in books than "more fun.")

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Dictionaries such as Merriam-Webster list fun as an adjective now, though it's clearly noun first.

Here's Grammarist on the debate:

"But while some of the stodgier English reference books still pretend fun is not an adjective, most English speakers moved on long ago, and the adjectival fun is rarely questioned. Ultimately, if we accept that fun is an adjective—and we have no choice, because it’s common—then we also have to accept funner and funnest."

So ... should you use "funner?"

It's probably fine in most cases, though if you're trying to impress highfalutin writers, you can't go wrong with "more fun."

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