I have just started teaching a new session of my Rollicking Story of English course, and a fun time is being had by all.
As usual, I start off right away by brainwashing, oops I mean indoctrinating, oops I mean educating my students about how, when they encounter usages different from their own, it's better to be curious and dispassionate than to be censorious.
All the same, a student came up at the end of class to complain, oops I mean inquire about a "young people today" usage she says causes her to "roll her eyes": saying something is "so fun" rather than "such fun". I get this complaint a lot from people over 70 (most of my students being in that age group).
So, the noun "fun" has become an adjective. This is not a surprising phenomenon in English, where we can easily use any noun to modify another one. As time goes on, that noun used attributively is just treated like an adjective. Some other nouns that have also morphed into adjectives are:
But in the 18th century, "fun" took on a new role as a noun, meaning "a trick or joke", and then "a kind of amusement". Samuel Johnson in his 1755 dictionary, however, was not amused. He called it "a low cant word". But obviously it served a purpose, because it stuck around.
There is attributive use of the noun "fun" (functioning effectively as an adjective) going back to the earliest years of the 20th century:
Boys should have fun, but, as Superintendent Cotton says : "It is generally conceded that the fun side of boys and girls does not need any coaching." The high-school fraternity does not give the right kind of fun.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=mzJKAQAAMAAJ“Film Fun”, the new magazine of the Comedy Motion Pictures, is devoted exclusively to the fun side of the films. It contains illustrations, funny stories, jokes–everything to make you happy.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=8no4AQAAMAAJLuxury articles were in demand. Manufacturers were making big profits on them. So they kept on paying high wages to these laborers who were making luxury articles—fun stuff
... best looking blonde and brunette, for the most expert lady drivers of sidecar outfits: for the neatest lady's riding suit; for neatest solo and sidecar outfit, including machine and driver. And still other fun events, but there isn't space to tell you all.
https://books.google.ca/books?id=OewRADmIubACFOUR-MAN CANOE RACE is a standard event that calls for plenty of teamwork. Place the best canoeist in the stern to keep canoe on the straight course. NO-PADDLE RACE is a fun event.
Since then, it has become more and more common. Soon, no doubt, it will be as unexceptionable as using "cheap" as an adjective.https://books.google.ca/books?id=-EYIAQAAMAAJJulius Toldi - 19609-year-old Kathleen likes art "because It is so fun and It teches me how to be a good artes and takes us away from school most lee arithmatic
Personally, I say "such fun" (I think), rather than "so fun". What do you say? Does "so fun" bug you?
For other words that were condemned when they first appeared but have since become standard, see this post:
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