Tara’s ESL Blog: Is it “Fun or Funny”?

Using Fun and Funny in English: 2 little words that cause BIG confusion!

How’s it going everybody! Today we are going to talk about a common vocabulary mistake that many students of English make, that is easily remedied with a little explanation. If you go to a party and you have a good time, which word should you use? If you watch a movie that makes you laugh a lot, which word should you use? These questions and more will be answered today.

First of all, these two little words can be unclear because even though they LOOK very similar, in reality they are very DIFFERENT. But, no worries! By the time you finish this lesson, it will much easier to distinguish WHEN to use WHICH word. So, what do these words mean and how should you use them? What are their parts of speech? How many meanings do they have? Let’s take a look!!!

Fun – but NOT Haha!!

This word is both a NOUN and an ADJECTIVE, BUT it has ONE meaning which is: a good time or enjoyable. The common uses are: to have fun (fun is a noun); to be fun (fun is an adjective).

  • To have fun = the fun is a thing (a noun) that we are receiving from an outside source. Something you are doing is enjoyable and makes you happy. In all of these instances “fun” is a THING that we have.


“We had fun at the beach.”

“My son had fun playing with the other kids.”

“Do children have more fun than adults?”

  • To be fun = the fun is a description of a person, place or thing (a noun). Here, the subject of the sentence is what is enjoyable. In all of these instances “fun” is a description of HOW someone or something IS. When someone or something IS FUN, this means that they make YOU happy.

c8d3aa1a734bffbfbe22c274a2f3c3b8“The beach is fun.”

“My friends are fun.”

“Children can be more fun than adults.”

Funny – Haha!! and other meanings!

This word is ONLY an adjective, BUT it has 3 different meanings. The common uses are: to be funny (haha); to be funny (curious/interesting); to look/smell/sound/taste/feel funny (strange/weird)

  • To be funny (haha) = the positive description of someone or something that makes you laugh.

Cartoon faces and emotions for humor or comics design

“The movie with Ben Stiller was very funny. I really liked the jokes”

“She is super funny – She does silly things and makes me laugh a lot.”

  • To be funny (curious or interesting) = the positive description of someone or something that interests or perplexes you. (Often used with “It’s and That’s”)

“The rocks at Stonehenge came from far away….Hm, that’s funny (curious).”

“It’s funny (interesting) that we lived in the same town, but never met each other until now.” 

  • To be funny (strange or weird) = Idiomatic phrase we use it a mostly negative way, when something isn’t the way it should normally be.

“This milk tastes funny. I think it is spoiled.”

“It smells funny in here. What are you cooking?”

“That house looks funny – there are no windows.”


So that’s it folks; A simple explanation of how to use Fun versus Funny in your everyday conversations. With this information you can understand more dialogues in movies, books, and television shows because you know that these words have different meanings when used in different situations. Now, of course it is possible to be fun AND funny and the same time (ideal really), but it is very important to know the difference between the two ideas in order to use them correctly. If you are interested in practicing this topic or any other topic, in a Skype class with me, then please send me an email to englishwithtaramusich@gmail.com. Take care, and talk to you soon!