When I try to fast-forward through a program that I am watching through my cable company's "On Demand" feature, an error message displays:

fast forward and other functionality may not be available...

Why is functionality used instead of function?

  • 1
    Uhh, both words would be incorrect.. it should be functionalities or functions.
    – Othya
    Jun 18 '15 at 18:37
  • I would say it's because "functions" has other forms and common definitions which may be ambiguous whereas "functionality" is much more limited in scope. Both would be correct, however. For what it's worth though, when I say "fast forward and other functions may not be available..." it sounds more awkward.
    – mfoy_
    Jun 18 '15 at 18:45
  • @mfoy: "fast forward and other functions may not be available..." it sounds more awkward. Ah, see, to my mind it sounds much better like that. :-)
    – Margana
    Jun 18 '15 at 19:11
  • Hmmmm, I used to think "snook" sounded better than "sneaked," but that isn't grammatically correct. I generally prefer a better reason than "it's sounds better." :0
    – Tina
    Jun 19 '15 at 19:05
  • 1
    @Othya Using "functionality" as a mass noun works in this example, so there's no need to make it plural.
    – Lawrence
    Mar 19 '17 at 6:53

Functionality is an adjective which means of or relating to a function or functions.

They might have used this word as they have already mentioned one function (i.e. fast forward). Although, there is no obligation by your cable provider to use correct grammar.

  • Thanks! So you think that since "fast forward" is the adjective referring to the "noun" function, that they've just opted to use "functionality" to substitute for any other adjective-noun combo - rewind function, pause function, and so forth? I get that they're not obliged to be correct, i just tend to second guess my understanding when I see something that I'm pretty sure is wrong so widely used by "professionals."
    – Tina
    Jun 19 '15 at 19:09

'Functionality' is not an adjective, it is a noun. You can pluralise it to become 'functionalities'. I think 'Fast forward' is functioning here as a verb as in the act of fast forwarding or possibly an adjective e.g. 'the fast forward functionality'. 'Functionality' appears to have a particular meaning when used in the context of technology which implies a range of different system functions. So in this instance, it has a technical meaning. I agree that the cable provider does not have to use 'correct grammar' but we would hope that they make sense.

  • The OP doesn't mention adjectives, so it's not clear why you do. Fast forward is not a verb, it's a noun phrase. Functionality does have a technical meaning in areas like computer technology, meaning a range of abilities. Fast forward is a singular function, so perhaps the cable provider could have chosen better usage, but the grammar is fine.
    – deadrat
    Mar 19 '17 at 6:41

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