Against ‘More Fun’
One syllable adjectives show degree by being inflected. Three or more syllable adjectives use the words ‘more’ or ‘most.’ And thus we have cold, colder, coldest as well as salubrious, more salubrious, most salubrious. These aren’t ancient rules going back to the time of good King Cnut, but they are settled tendencies that have become codified over time. It is a goodly and pleasant arrangement which leaves words of two syllables (which often vary on whim) in an admirable state of disorder. Aside from the truly anomalous ‘good’ and ‘bad’ this is true for all adjectives, even for ‘fun’, which is properly declined fun, funner, funnest, and not as you may have been taught fun, more fun, most fun.
But there is a wretched, joyless, anti-grammatical, group of Puritans who support artificial arbitrary rules trying to deny us this. They hate both the rules and the eccentricities of our language and want to make it a dead lifeless thing, governed not by learning, history and precedent, but by ignorance, superciliousness, and hatred. And one of the words they hate most is ‘fun.’ Why pick on this word? why do so many fools believe that they are right and will interrupt someone to correct them1. I once knew a girl from Iowa who interrupted me twice on this account to ‘correct me.’ The second time after admitting I was right. It’s impossible to say for certain, but it may be that the wretches dislike the concept of fun entirely.
What weapons do we, good Anglophones, have to fight such nonsense? From The Good Book, sadly, we receive no support2, for as an adjective it is not recorded in the original or it’s supplements. Hopefully3 this matter will be addressed in the coming edition, but for now we must rely solely on knowing our own language. It may come as a surprise to some of you readers that there are those who would suck the very life out of our language, but it shouldn’t. No place in the world has a greater population of killjoys than America, and in no area are our killjoys more successful than in language. These vile hate-mongers, for reasons known only to themselves, have begun an odd propaganda campaign against inflected adjectives.4 As a consequence, young writers are being taught to not use the inflection on two syllable adjectives making their writing ever the more sad and rigid.
When I myself was in college I had a copy of Diana Hacker’s style Manuel which demanded that the writer avoid the f-word5 completely. It is an old word — well over three hundred years old — and quite well-known and employed by every speaker of the language, so why should we not use it? The only analogy for such avoidance is obscenities (and we can easily imagine why the current crop of those were chosen). And perhaps the problem is that fun is thought to be obscene. From childhood on there are few things more inherently enjoyable than language — it gives both form and content to our minds, allows truces between enemies, understanding between strangers, and companionship between friends. Anyone who would take the fun out of it is committing a serious misdeed.
1 Is there a word for correcting someone and supplying a false fact in the place of a true one? There should be.
2 it also should be noted that these killjoys know nothing of the Good Book and refer consistently to some charlatan named Webster.
3 There is nothing wrong with this use of ‘hopefully’ regardless of what they say about it, unless they hate hope too.
4 Here even pure indulgence is joyless. Judging by the popular culture given a limitless amount of time and money we would be brushing our teeth with Jack Daniels and have swimming pools filled with liquor. We can only hope that if someone ever does get that swimming pool they also get a pair of hermetically-tight goggles. None of this indulgence seems especially fulfilling, or even enjoyable. There is even genre of Art House film, which is made to not be enjoyed. Such films are terrible and tedious but called ‘breathtaking’ (in the sense perhaps of ‘suffocating’). And so even movie-watching, a passive voyeuristic and banal activity, must be made an act of contrition. The world over things that people enjoy naturally — theatre, books, opera, outdoor games – are here made a drudgery. This tendency extends to the most natural human activities: eating, sleeping, walking, copulation (if you doubt this last one check the ‘sex tips’ section in any women’s magazine).
5 Both f-words, I guess, but the other one has been considered obscene since the beginning of the language and its prohibition has been a great help in keeping people from discussing the act itself — a state of affairs that we can only envy.