For years and years I always used the phrase ‘a whole nother’. I felt like my little sister must be from a whole nother planet (just kidding–I love you, Pretty!). I wanted a whole nother piece of key lime pie.
It wasn’t until I decided to write it down one day that I realized that ‘nother’ is not actually a word. It looked funny. I’d never seen it in a book (my ultimate judge on whether a word exists or not). And I was so sad… this incredible word wasn’t actually a word.
There’s a term for it–infixation.
And, to my utter delight, apparently there is an entire blog devoted to finding people using ‘a whole nother’. Rally behind me, everyone! Let’s use the phrase until all but the most strict of grammarians will have to accept it as proper English.
Moving onto grammar that I am less excited about: the term ‘so fun’.
Now, my mother practically beat it into us that saying that something was ‘so fun’ is wholly inappropriate. I can hear her now, “It is SUCH FUN or SO MUCH FUN. There is no such thing as so fun.”
A few years ago, this led to a fight with my husband (yep, I think it was an out-and-out fight!). He was certain that ‘so fun’ was actually correct, and I didn’t have any grammar rules to back up my side except to say, “But my mom is from ENGLAND! She KNOWS!”… which, although true, was perhaps less than convincing.
However, and I give my dh credit for this, he looked it up and discovered that using ‘so fun’ is, in fact, incorrect. The grammar behind it: the word ‘fun’ is not an adjective. ‘So’ is an adverb–and adverbs can only modify other adverbs and adjectives. Thus, ‘so’ cannot modify ‘fun’.
(To present the opposing point of view, my dh would say that common usage of the word ‘fun’ as an adjective (‘What a fun game!’) makes usage of ‘so fun’ acceptable. However, while I don’t mind a fun game, I just can’t tolerate it being ‘so fun’. It’s like nails on chalkboard.)
Don’t you feel smarter? Did you think when you came to read a blog that you’d leave enlightened (and chagrined at the thought of how often you’ve used either ‘a whole nother’ or ‘so fun’ without even thinking about the grammar implications)? You’re very welcome.