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Ask Doctor English
Your ESL and English language learning specialist. Ask Dr. English whatever you like about the English language.

Monday, May 30, 2005

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS

There are some English words that are similar but have very different meanings. These words can be confusing and therefore are often used incorrectly by non-native speakers of English.

A common example of this are the words FUN and FUNNY. You refer to an activity or situation as FUN if you think it is pleasant or enjoyable and it causes you to feel happy. However, FUNNY is someone or something that is amusing and likely to make you laugh or smile. FUNNY can also be used as a slang expression and then the meaning changes to strange, surprising or puzzling. (Collins Colbuild Dictionary)

We usually describe a party or an event as being FUN, meaning it is enjoyable. A party is not commonly described as FUNNY, as this would imply that something happened to make you laugh. It would be more usual to describe a person such a comedian or a movie as being FUNNY.

If you would like more information on WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, please email Doctor English with your questions at drenglish@vec.ca.

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