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Author Topic: Funnest way to drive through NYC  (Read 10238 times)

empirestate

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Re: Funnest way to drive through NYC
« Reply #25 on: March 05, 2015, 02:38:00 PM »

This is now way off topic, but:

Back in the days of Old English, all adjectives formed their comparative and superlatives in “-er” and “-est.” But later, starting in the fourteenth century or so, the forms “more” and “most” appeared. Over time, they took over from the endings in the vast majority of cases, except for a number of short and commonly-used words, where they were retained. Because “fun” started life as a noun, it does not have this earlier form, and so by default it uses “more” and “most.” Other monosyllabic adjectives that take “more” and “most” tend to do so for other reasons, most often because they are rare enough that no one knows that there are “-er” and “-est” forms that can be used. A good example here would be “moot.”


Interesting; has the word "fun" specifically been studied in this regard, or is that just general history of the language that applies to the word?

Of course, you can also use "more" and "most" with nouns: "This is more fun than yesterday." "This is more jam than yesterday." How do we distinguish that "fun" here is an adjective when "jam" is definitely a noun?
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Pete from Boston

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Re: Funnest way to drive through NYC
« Reply #26 on: March 05, 2015, 04:14:16 PM »

So what's the funniest way to drive through NYC?
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slorydn1

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Re: Funnest way to drive through NYC
« Reply #27 on: March 05, 2015, 04:20:13 PM »

So what's the funniest way to drive through NYC?

Jump off of the Cross Bronx near the Grand Concourse, pull over and get out. Grab a stop watch and time how long it takes for your wheels and stereo to disappear. Sprint Cup pit crews have nothing on those guys! :)
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CtrlAltDel

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Re: Funnest way to drive through NYC
« Reply #28 on: March 05, 2015, 04:57:08 PM »

This is now way off topic, but:

Back in the days of Old English, all adjectives formed their comparative and superlatives in “-er” and “-est.” But later, starting in the fourteenth century or so, the forms “more” and “most” appeared. Over time, they took over from the endings in the vast majority of cases, except for a number of short and commonly-used words, where they were retained. Because “fun” started life as a noun, it does not have this earlier form, and so by default it uses “more” and “most.” Other monosyllabic adjectives that take “more” and “most” tend to do so for other reasons, most often because they are rare enough that no one knows that there are “-er” and “-est” forms that can be used. A good example here would be “moot.”


Interesting; has the word "fun" specifically been studied in this regard, or is that just general history of the language that applies to the word?

Of course, you can also use "more" and "most" with nouns: "This is more fun than yesterday." "This is more jam than yesterday." How do we distinguish that "fun" here is an adjective when "jam" is definitely a noun?

Continuing to veer off track here:

The history of the comparative and superlative in English has been extensively studied. Entire books have been written about it. To make sure I got my facts straight, I checked Victorina González-Díaz, Adjective Comparison: A Historical Perspective (Philadelphia: Benjamins Publishing, 2008). But there are many, many others. A Google Scholar search will turn up dozens, most of which have been cited quite a few times.

As far as parts of speech go, these are determined by how words are used and how they are understood. As for “fun,” what likely happened is that someone long ago said something like, “This is a fun game.” What they meant by this was, “This is a game to be played with fun (as opposed to seriousness),” in the same sense as “This is a board game,” means, “This is a game to be played with a board (as opposed to cards).” But, “This is a game to be played with fun,” is a somewhat awkward sentiment, and so the idea behind “This is a fun game” was more readily “mapped” in people’s minds to “This is a game that creates fun,” which is easy to do by changing “fun” from a noun to an adjective, which, in the history of English, is the sort of thing that happens all the time. Over time, the usage stuck.

To verify the adjectivication of the noun “fun,” what you do is look for instances of its use where conceiving it as a noun doesn’t make sense. So, consider, “Baseball is more fun than football.” If you can replace “fun” with other nouns and get sentences that someone might actually say, then you can conclude that “fun” is a noun, at least in those cases. If you can’t, then it’s not. And because you can’t say things like “Baseball is more excitement than football” or “Baseball is more delight than football,” we can be sure that “fun” has some usage as an adjective.

Incidentally, I was surprised to find that the word “fun” originally meant “young woman.” How it got its current meaning is anyone’s guess. . . .





Back on track, I was also surprised to learn that 278 crosses all the boroughs of New York. If I had known that I would have taken that route last summer. I'm sorry if this has already been asked, but how much is the total toll for that route from the New Jersey Turnpike to Connecticut?
« Last Edit: March 05, 2015, 05:04:10 PM by CtrlAltDel »
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empirestate

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Re: Funnest way to drive through NYC
« Reply #29 on: March 06, 2015, 09:56:14 AM »

To verify the adjectivication of the noun “fun,” what you do is look for instances of its use where conceiving it as a noun doesn’t make sense. So, consider, “Baseball is more fun than football.” If you can replace “fun” with other nouns and get sentences that someone might actually say, then you can conclude that “fun” is a noun, at least in those cases. If you can’t, then it’s not. And because you can’t say things like “Baseball is more excitement than football” or “Baseball is more delight than football,” we can be sure that “fun” has some usage as an adjective.

Aha! I think we've found the crux of it. To me, you certainly can say the sentence using "excitement" or "delight". Of course, those words sound awkward in the context, which leads me to choose the word "fun". I'm trying to think of an instance where "fun", or some form of it, is unquestionably functioning as an adjective but does not sound erroneous to my ear. In fact, I can find similar usage with things like color words: "The hat in this painting is more red." While "red" is definitely an adjective sometimes, in that sentence I hear it as a noun because I hear a reference to the glob of paint used to produce the hat, as well as its chromatic properties.

So the function of parts of speech seems a bit like chord function in musical harmony: there are sometimes multiple to ways to analyze the same harmony, one of which may sound unambiguously correct to one ear, while another may find it mutable. (As may some music critics, ba-dum-ching!)

I'm not surprised that there have been many histories written of the comparative and superlative; I was just wondering if you'd seen any that specifically deal with the word "fun"? (And I bet there are many of those, too.)

(And it's okay to veer off track, because the OP took his funnest trip through NYC on the 4th, and now it's the 6th, so the question is either answered or moot.) :D
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Alps

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Re: Funnest way to drive through NYC
« Reply #30 on: March 08, 2015, 11:42:29 AM »

So what's the funniest way to drive through NYC?
Pooing.

 


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