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message 1: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments I used the word 'funnily' in one of my books and then got feedback from a few of my beta readers that they don't think it is a word. I've seen other people use this word and it is in the dictionary. What is you guy's take on it?


message 2: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 200 comments Whether or not it is a word doesn't matter much. This is the perfect example where you should follow the advices and skip an adverb. Not alone it sounds silly, but I just can't think of how such a word could be necessary.


message 3: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Funnily is one of those words I might use in casual conversation, but in writing, I might switch to oddly or hilariously depending on the use. For example, "oddly enough" or "he danced around hilariously."


message 4: by Ubiquitous (new)

Ubiquitous Bubba (ubiquitousbubba) | 77 comments My wife was reading a book the other day and mentioned that the author had described a community as "treesy". It was a great word that conveyed a vivid picture. The fact that the word didn't exist in a dictionary had no bearing on the fact that it was used brilliantly.

If it's the right word for your story, use it. If not, find the one that is.


message 5: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments The reason why I went with funnily is because I needed a word that indicated funny and strange. Strangely or oddly doesn't convey funny enough to me and on the other side hilariously or comically is too funny and not enough strange. I need something that conveys both of them.


message 6: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments I really hope that made sense.


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments If you're talking in your narrative voice, then use a word if you'd use it yourself. In quoted dialog, anything goes. Mrs. Malaprop is one of the best-loved characters in fiction. Euphemised swearwords like "smeg" are a fun device. Funnily enough, I'd use your word.


message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments Ubiquitous wrote: "My wife was reading a book the other day and mentioned that the author had described a community as "treesy". It was a great word that conveyed a vivid picture. The fact that the word didn't exist ..."

I do like the word funnily but I also don't want people to scratch their heads when they read it and then go look it up to see if it is actually a word.


message 9: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Well then, that could work. I always have words that betas say are wrong when I know they are not.


message 10: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 200 comments Personally, if I understand the way it's being used, I don't feel the need to check if the author made the 'faux pas' of writing a word that doesn't exist. However, some readers do. You need to decide whether it's worth the risk or not.

In your case, the word does exist, you're safe. I'd use it if I'd feel it's the one needed for the occasion.


message 11: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments Thanks for all of your responses! I think I'll keep the word.


message 12: by David (new)

David Schick (davidschick) | 14 comments I don't think there is anything wrong with making up words if there is not a real word that conveys the point you are making. The fact that the word you used does actually exist shouldn't be a point of contention if the readers understand the concept.


message 13: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments I absolutely hate the word 'funnily.'

I used to hear hicks using it back in High School and it would drive me nuts. Just one of those stupid Americanisms that crop up in some backwoods dialects.

A few years ago I heard some well spoken British guy use it on the radio. I got home and complained about it to my wife.

She says to me in a deadpan voice: "Funnily is a perfectly correct word."

I was livid. My own wife turning against me! I'll teach her...I looked it up! Ha! This will teach her!

...Oh...It is a totally correct word.

F---. ;(


message 14: by Micah (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments G.G. wrote: "...Not alone it sounds silly, but I just can't think of how such a word could be necessary."

In dialog is the only place I might use it. Depending, of course, on the character.

"Funnily enough, James, I was just about to ask you the same question."


message 15: by G.G. (new)

G.G. (ggatcheson) | 200 comments Well, I have to agree that in dialogs it fits. I was mostly thinking about the dreaded 'he said, funnily' tag.


message 16: by Micah (last edited Nov 03, 2014 12:30PM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments Still, 'tis a silly word.


message 17: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Oh yes, G.G. Never tell your readers you think you're funny. "These are the yolks, folks," sign of a dying comic


message 18: by Richard (last edited Nov 03, 2014 02:16PM) (new)

Richard | 490 comments Mod
It also expresses surprise caused by coincidences ("I was about to post a thread on this subject myself, funnily enough") and, compared with 'synchronously', 'synchronistically', 'adventitiously', 'contemporaneously', 'coinstantaneously', 'isochronously', or even just 'coincidentally', 'funnily enough' sounds pretty good to me!


message 19: by Richard (new)

Richard Penn (richardpenn) | 758 comments Why "funnily enough" though? It's odd, isn't it. We never say the one without the other.


message 20: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) You can say "amusingly,"
or you can say "jocularly,"
or you can say "hilariously,"
but you doesn't has to say "funnily."
--Ray Jay Johnson


message 21: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
but you doesn't has to say

I have a character who speaks like this. Proofreading is a nightmare.


message 23: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments I feel the need to post the sentence in question.

'Winston looked at us funnily for a moment before sitting down next to me and joining us.'

This is how it is in the book.


message 24: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Ironside (julesanneironside) | 653 comments Mod
I think my personal preference in that specific context would be 'askance' rather than 'funnily' as I don't feel funnily fits there, however only you, the author, can decide which word is the best fit. Always worth giving it a second thought if there's a consensus about something though.


message 25: by Richard (new)

Richard | 490 comments Mod
Is there something a bit old-school about it? I can imagine my father saying 'funnily' that way, whereas I wouldn't.


message 26: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) If the context is correct, I think I'd use "oddly."


message 27: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Richard wrote: "Is there something a bit old-school about it? I can imagine my father saying 'funnily' that way, whereas I wouldn't."

I've never heard the word before, so if it's old-school I missed it.


message 28: by Ken (last edited Nov 03, 2014 04:12PM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Just looked it up in my old Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary (unabridged, 2nd Edition), which I've had since 1973. "fun'ni-ly, adv, in a funny manner."

Who knew? But I still wouldn't use it.


message 29: by Micah (last edited Nov 03, 2014 04:33PM) (new)

Micah Sisk (micahrsisk) | 563 comments Other places define the word as "in a strange or amusing way" but in the case of the given sentence (which funnily enough has other oddities that bother me more than 'funnily'--Winston looks at us, sits next to me and joins us all in the same sentence. Bit awkward)...but in the case of the given sentence, I'm not really sure whether he looked at us strangely or in an amusing way.

I would either choose 'strangely' or 'amusingly' or 'oddly.' Or describe the actual look:

"Winston screwed his face up into a comical scowl for a moment before joining us, sitting at my side."


message 30: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 189 comments pfft ignore them. it's a real word and used correctly. those betas of yours don't read often enough :D


message 31: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments Who knew that word would be so funnily *wink wink* received here?


message 32: by Carl (new)

Carl Purcell Yes it is word, but it might not be a good word. Not all words are made equal. I'm not fond of the word funnily, and if your beta readers are pointing it out, then it's not sitting well with them, either. That's probably a good enough reason to find a new word.

It helps that you posted the sentence. Without wider context, it's still hard to judge, but it's not doing anything for me. "He gave us a funny look" sounds better but it still doesn't convey a whole lot to me. Even if I am unsure what the look is supposed to convey, I don't get the sense that the characters are as confused as I am.


message 33: by Amanda (last edited Nov 03, 2014 07:12PM) (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments (view spoiler)


message 34: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I think in that case I would say that he "had a funny look on his face as he sat down next to me." "Joined us" seems superfluous. (wow, see what happens when you throw a sentence up in front of a bunch of writers? We all want to rewrite to our own style.)


message 35: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Bemused perhaps?
And hey! That's a spoiler, that is!


message 36: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Lyles (gobbledygook) | 380 comments Sorry Christina. I didn't think when I posted that. I would try to make it better but am worried I'll make it worse.


message 37: by Christina (new)

Christina McMullen (cmcmullen) | 1213 comments Mod
Amanda wrote: "Sorry Christina. I didn't think when I posted that. I would try to make it better but am worried I'll make it worse."

No worries, I'll be sure to forget what I read.
;)


message 38: by Carl (new)

Carl Purcell Amanda wrote: "Sorry Christina. I didn't think when I posted that. I would try to make it better but am worried I'll make it worse."

That's okay. So try again and make it worse. Then try again. Then try again until it is correct. You get infinite retries when you're writing.


message 39: by Ken (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) I'm always rewriting, trying to make it better, until I'm finally satisfied. And then I publish.


message 40: by Ryan (last edited Nov 20, 2014 08:37PM) (new)

Ryan Guy G.G. wrote: "Whether or not it is a word doesn't matter much. This is the perfect example where you should follow the advices and skip an adverb.

An adverb each page keeps the readers away ;)


message 41: by V.M. (new)

V.M. Sang (aspholessaria) | 11 comments Amanda wrote: "The reason why I went with funnily is because I needed a word that indicated funny and strange. Strangely or oddly doesn't convey funny enough to me and on the other side hilariously or comically i..."

My thoughts exactly when someone suggested 'He danced around hilariously.' That implies fall about laughing, whereas 'funnily' has the amusing feeling, but not as strongly as 'hilariously', and also the 'oddly' feel too. Please remember that no two words convey exactly the samd meaning. Yes, 'funnily' is a word, so use it if that is what you mean.


message 42: by V.M. (new)

V.M. Sang (aspholessaria) | 11 comments Ken wrote: "I'm always rewriting, trying to make it better, until I'm finally satisfied. And then I publish."

Are you ever satisfied? I'm not, and many writers of my acquaintance are not either. I keep re-writing and re-writing and could go on for ever, I think. I do eventually publish though.


message 43: by V.M. (new)

V.M. Sang (aspholessaria) | 11 comments Ryan wrote: "G.G. wrote: "Whether or not it is a word doesn't matter much. This is the perfect example where you should follow the advices and skip an adverb.

An adverb each page keeps the readers away ;)"


What's wrong with adverbs anyway? We are not told to leave out adjectives. Just because something governs a verb and not a noun does not make it much different.


message 44: by Ken (last edited Feb 07, 2015 08:38AM) (new)

Ken Doggett (kendoggett) Vivienne wrote: "Are you ever satisfied? I'm not, and many writers of my acquaintance are not either. ..."

Satisfied enough to publish. When I reread after publishing I can always find some minor things I wish I had changed. I'm currently considering a 2nd edition of my first novel, with major changes--not to the story, but to add or shorten scenes, reorganize the chapters, and smooth the writing just a little more. Maybe I should let it go, but it doesn't seem to be a major undertaking.


message 45: by David (last edited Feb 07, 2015 09:29AM) (new)

David Staniforth (davidstaniforth) | 21 comments Adverbs often weaken and distract from the verb though, whereas adjectives strengthen the noun.

Ran quickly, for example is much better replaced with a visually stronger verb such as: sprinted; darted; dashed

A blue box can't be described by substituting a different word for box.


message 46: by Owen (last edited Feb 07, 2015 02:50PM) (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 625 comments Amanda wrote: "The reason why I went with funnily is because I needed a word that indicated funny and strange. Strangely or oddly doesn't convey funny enough to me and on the other side hilariously or comically i..."

Drop "froward" on them. It's a great word. (Along with frowsty and crapulous. Describing someone as frowsty, froward and crapulous is awesome in my book.)


message 47: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 625 comments BB. wrote: "I used 'Balldashery' in a paragraph of my work. It's a word now!"

Good on ya! I used the word "nitwitery" once and it was published (in the Atlantic Monthly no less), so I'm laying claim to coining it.


message 48: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 625 comments David wrote: "Adverbs often weaken and distract from the verb though, whereas adjectives strengthen the noun.

Ran quickly, for example is much better replaced with a visually stronger verb such as: sprinted; da..."


The key word in the above is "often". Some authors use adverbs frequently as a lazy short-hand that weakens their writing. But that's not because adverbs are bad, it's because the author isn't trying.

Other authors buy off on the "rule" adverbs are "weak" (promulgated by authors like Stephen King, who really ought to know better) and go thru circumlocutions to avoid it, producing awkward, stunted, unnatural prose as a result.

Neither is desirable, but only the second is actually bad.


message 49: by Owen (new)

Owen O'Neill (owen_r_oneill) | 625 comments BB. wrote: "Hahaha Nitwitery, I like it!"

Thanks. That was in a letter to the editor that was first thing I ever had printed in a major publication. (And also the last.)


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