The Grammarphobia Blog

Is “funnily enough” cringeworthy?

Q: I cringe when I hear “funnily enough,” as in “Funnily enough, I saw him yesterday” or some such blather. Yuck! Do I have a right to be (prepare for understatement) peeved? No matter what you say, I will continue to hate it.

A: We’re not fond of  this expression ourselves, and we certainly don’t recall ever using it. But we can’t say it’s grammatically incorrect.

The adverb “funnily” is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as meaning “in a funny manner.”

The first recorded use is from a letter written by Harriet, Countess Granville, in 1814: “[He] says she … talks so funnily and sweetly.”

The British aristocracy must have liked the word. Here’s another example, from  Memorials of His Time, by Henry Thomas, Lord Cockburn (1856): “It was funnily done; which was not always the case, for it was often with bitter gravity.” 

Awkward as it sounds, ”funnily enough” is grammatically parallel to such adverbial phrases as “oddly enough,” “curiously enough,” “aptly enough,” “strangely enough,” and so on.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news! But the fact that a usage is acceptable doesn’t mean you have to use it.

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