Monday, June 16, 2008

Fun, Fun, Fun

Is it just me, or is "fun" one of the most overloaded words in the English language? Most people would sit there and think, "what are you talking about? Fun means only one thing, it's one of the basic building blocks by which other more complicated words are defined." But not only is it used as a noun, adjective, and verb, it's also used to convey positive and negative, good fun and bad fun, craziness and absurdity.

How many times have you been told, "You're no fun," just because your idea of fun is counter to someone else's? How many times have people used the excuse "I was just having fun," in response to being caught doing something they shouldn't.

Contrarily, spending times with your best friends is "fun", as is doing good things you like to do. Pretty soon we'll be saying things like:

"I had a fun time playing games outside, but had way too much drinking fun, and
now I'm having fun being sick."
People, hear me now... using the word "fun" is a short way to waste a lot of words.

More interesting to me is the usage note in the American Heritage Dictionary regarding the adjective form of "fun":
The use of fun as an attributive adjective, as in a fun time, a fun place,
probably originated in a playful reanalysis of the use of the word in sentences
such as "It is fun to ski," where fun has the syntactic function of adjectives
such as amusing or enjoyable. The usage became popular in the 1950s and
1960s, though there is some evidence to suggest that it has 19th-century
antecedents, but it can still raise eyebrows among traditionalists. The day may
come when this usage is entirely unremarkable, but writers may want to avoid
it in more formal contexts.
Don't get me wrong, there are legitimate uses of the word "fun", but let's try to keep it the way it was intended to be. The next time I hear someone use it in an absurd way, I will be compelled to beat them over the head with a rubber chicken...
... yeah, that'll be fun!

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