Fun or Funny? - Podcast Episode 22

Welcome to Episode 22 of The English Sessions. Fun or Funny? I am your host and English teacher, Mike Butler. These podcasts can help you improve your English! Together, we will talk about grammar… pronunciation… structure... and have some fun too. Remember to visit my website, to contact me for private lessons, and for more content.

You can also read the transcript of this audio on the website, as you listen to this episode.

Listen for these words today:
Amusement park - a large outdoor area with games, and rides, and food. I will put a picture of an amusement park on the website.

Tease - “to tease” means to say hurtful or offensive things to someone. Sometimes it’s harmless, but sometimes it really hurts someone. Sometimes it can be playful, and not too offensive. Some people are very sensitive though, and even playful ‘teasing’ can offend them.

When should you use ‘fun’? When should you use ‘funny’?

Let’s start with ‘funny’. Something funny causes you to laugh. It is ‘humorous’ (causing lighthearted laughter). I will list things that are funny: comedians are funny; some clowns are funny (and some clowns are scary!); a comedy movie is funny. It typically describes the person, or people, that make you laugh. Animals can be very funny too, like my dogs Murphy and Greta. I am always laughing at what they do. So, people are funny, animals are funny, or what they do or create is funny.

With my students, sometimes I like to show them examples from the real world. Let’s put the word ‘funny’ in an internet search engine:

Ok, so some dictionaries, of course. Oh, here is a YouTube video: TRY NOT TO LAUGH AT THIS 😆 Funny Fails Video Compilation 2020


Ok, let’s move on. Here’s the next one: 100 Funny Quotes That Will Make You Laugh, INSTANTLY! Alright, well let’s try it out… “Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.” Ok, that’s pretty good. “Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian”. I like that quote a lot, but it didn’t make me laugh, so I don’t think it’s funny. Let’s try one more: “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”. Hmm, that one just makes me think, but doesn’t make me laugh, maybe I don’t have a sense of humor!

Okay, now, what about ‘fun’? What is ‘fun’? “Fun” describes more things. I had a lot of fun watching that YouTube video, and reading those quotes. I also have fun when I watch a comedian. So, something that is funny can be fun. “Fun” often is the word you use to describe the time you had. For example, “Did you have a good time?” ANSWER: “Yes, I had fun!” An amusement park is very fun, and maybe you will laugh at the amusement park, but the experience altogether was ‘fun’.

Let’s do the same internet search with ‘fun’. Let’s see what comes up:

Okay, definitions from dictionaries, of course. Next are YouTube videos from a pop band called ‘Fun’. That’s a really smart idea for a band, to name your band a very common word like ‘fun’. Okay okay, ah, here we go:

Fun games, at, games. Games are the perfect example of something that is fun. People enjoy games very much. Computer games can be very fun. They are stimulating; they are challenging. But do they make you laugh? Probably not. So, they are fun, not funny.

Now, maybe you learned this from your English textbook: funny - adjective; fun - noun. That is true, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are used in different ways. Also, ‘fun’ is used as an adjective all the time. For example, you can say, “I had fun”, but it is also very common to say, “It was fun”. Notice the difference there, “I had fun”, the person had fun, Mary had fun, John had fun. But, “IT was fun”, now the situation/the experience was fun. It’s describing the experience. Here is the example from the Oxford dictionary, “It was a fun evening”. “Fun” describes the evening.

So remember, when you enjoy your time, enjoy your experience, you are having fun. If you are laughing while you have fun, then something is funny (probably a person, or a cute animal).

After the break, I will talk about OTHER ways to use the words ‘fun’ and ‘funny’.


Let’s talk about the phrase ‘make fun’. My learners often think it just means ‘to create a fun experience’. Unfortunately, the definition of this phrase is not fun at all. It means ‘to tease’ someone. “Poke fun” has the same meaning, ‘to tease’. It’s not a nice thing. Bullies tease people who are smaller, or weaker than they are.

Okay, and here is another way to use ‘funny’. “Funny” can also describe something that is ‘strange’, ‘odd’, ‘unusual’ or hard to understand. For example, “There’s something funny about this place, but I don’t know what it is.”

I have some fun homework for you. Tell me about a time when you had a lot of fun. What was ‘fun’ about it? And was there anything that was ‘funny’ (something that made you laugh). Record a voice message on the website, or write to me through social media, or send an email. I will read it on the podcast.

Any questions? Write to me at . Leave a message for me on the website, and I will play it on the podcast. Make sure to subscribe to this podcast so you won’t miss an episode. Visit for more content. Please rate and review The English Sessions on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. Find us on social media. Twitter @theEsessions; Instagram @englishsessionswithmike; Search for The English Sessions on Facebook. Until next time, this is Mike signing off.


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