Fun and funny

Avete sempre pensato che “fun” e “funny” fossero sinonimi? Non è proprio così… Se qualcosa è “fun” vuol dire che è piacevole, legata al divertimento; se è “funny” è comica, fa ridere. Anche se a volte il significato cambia, pericolosamente…

Mark Worden (Standard British accent)

Italians and indeed (1) students of English of other nationalities often have difficulty distinguishing between two adjectives; “fun” and “funny.” Now, fun is both (2) an adjective and a noun. “Fun”: it means something that’s entertaining and enjoyable (3), and is also used as an adjective to denote something that is entertaining and enjoyable, but as a noun perhaps the best example is the great 1983 Cyndi Lauper song, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” So that’s “fun,” basically entertainment, a good time (4). There’s also the adjective “funny,” and this is different, this actually (5) means comical, something that makes you laugh (6), OK? And I notice that Italians often confuse the two when they’re trying to speak English. But “funny” is a strange word because it has another meaning (7). It can also mean something that’s slightly (8) strange: for example, a “funny farm” is a British slang expression for a mental hospital. And in Britain, where people can be fairly threatening (9), if somebody says to you, “Are you being funny?” They’re not actually saying, “Are you being comical?” They’re saying, “Are you teasing me (10), are you insulting me?” And it’s often a threat (11), so you often have to say, “No, I’m sorry, I’m not being funny at all!” So, anyway, those are the differences between the words “fun” and “funny,” which are very common and very useful.


1    indeed: sicuramente, per la verità
2    both: sia
3    enjoyable: piacevole
4    a good time: di divertimento
5    actually: in realtà
6    that makes you laugh: che ti fa ridere
7    meaning: significato
8    slightly: leggermente
9    fairly threatening: abbastanza minacciosa
10   are you teasing me?: mi stai prendendo in giro?
11    threat: minaccia

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