Is it ‘fun’ or is it ‘funny’?

difference between fun and funny

Photo credit: mirror.co.uk

Some time ago I started noticing the difference between the usage of ‘fun‘ and ‘funny‘, or, rather, I realised that more often than not you cannot replace ‘fun’ with ‘funny’.

I remember a student of mine saying about his three children ‘They are good fun‘ rather than ‘They are funny‘.

I also noticed non-natives often mixing these two words, so I thought I’d investigate it.

In a nutshell, the difference in meaning is the following:

  • fun – something that you enjoy doing, or somebody you like spending your time with (if used about a person)
  • funny – something that makes you laugh, something comical or humorous

For instance:

– He is a fun guy (= he is fun to be with, he is a nice person)

– He is a funny guy (= he behaves in a way / does something that makes you laugh)

Funny‘ can also mean strange or unusual, as in:

– There’s something funny going on (MacMillan Dictionary).

– The washing machine is making a funny noise again (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

– It’s funny how Alec always disappears whenever there’s work to be done (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

– She’s a funny girl (= she is strange and difficult to understand) (Cambridge Online Dictionary).

 

Want to know more?

This and this threads on WordReference, my go-to website for linguistic queries, offer a bit more information on the topic.

Here is a nice visualisation of ‘fun’ vs. ‘funny‘.

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