The word "fair" is similar to the words "equal" and "just." A fair situation usually satisfies everyone who is involved in it; however, there may be disagreement over what is fair and what isn’t fair.

  • Two countries agreed on a fair settlement of land.
  • Everyone said the agreement was fair.
  • A lawyer reviews agreements to make sure they are fair under the law.
  • The laws should be fair and treat everyone equally.
  • The company that Tony works for provides fair compensation to the employees.
  • People protested in the streets because of an unfair law. (unfair = not fair)

Sometimes the word "fair" is used as an adverb when describing an amount:

  • We received a fair amount of rain last night. (We received a good amount of rain.)
  • A fair number of people are supporting that candidate for office.

Sometimes the word "fair" means "okay."

  • The quality of his work is just fair.
  • The turnout at the event was fair.
  • He did a fair job but it wasn’t great.
  • Business last week was fair.

The word "fairly" is an adverb:

  • The company treats its employees fairly.
  • They are fairly treated. (They are treated well.)
  • The workers are paid fairly for their effort.
  • The police treated the suspect unfairly. (The suspect wasn’t abused or mistreated.)

As an adverb, the word "fairly" is also used in a manner similar to the words "little," "somewhat," or "rather."

  • This is fairly easy. (It’s a little easy.)
  • His job is fairly difficult. (It’s somewhat difficult.)
  • She became fairly successful as an actress. (She became rather successful.)

The word "fairness" is a noun:

  • Everyone wants to be treated with fairness and respect.
  • The fairness of the contract was called into question by our lawyer.
  • A certain amount of fairness is expected in deciding what punishment a criminal should receive.

Finally, the word "fair" is a noun used to describe a gathering of people at a large event where there are competitions, entertainment, and celebrations.

  • The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest fairs in the United States.
  • Mathilda entered her cow at the county fair and won second prize.
  • The school fair is a fundraiser held annually.

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September 6, 2015