Blond vs. Blonde

Sometimes there’s an E at the end, and sometimes there’s not. This post will teach you the simple rules of which word to use when.

With males—noun usage
If you’re writing about a boy or a man with golden-colored hair, use blond (no E).

Example: The handsome man is a blond.

With females—noun usage
However, if you’re writing about a golden-haired girl or woman, use blonde (with the E).

Example: The pretty woman is a blonde.

With males and/or females—adjective usage
You’ll notice that we have so far been talking about nouns (when we use blond or blonde to represent the person). But what about when you simply want to use an adjective to describe a person as being blond? As an adjective, blond never has an E at the end. It’s always simply blond.

Example: The blond man walked through the door.
Example: The blond woman walked through the door.
Example: The blond family walked through the door.

In the examples above, since blond is used as an adjective to describe the noun (man/woman/family), it follows the adjective rule and doesn’t have an E at the end.

Blame the French
Wonder why we have two spellings of this noun? Blame the French. French regularly assigns gender to words and spells them differently based on whether they are masculine or feminine. Since we inherited the word blond/e from French, we also inherited the two ways of spelling it.

Quiz
Test your skills with a quiz. Fill in blond or blonde in the blanks. The answers are at the bottom.

1. The backyard was filled with _______ children.
2. That tall lady is a _______.
3. The man picking his nose is a _______.
4. The _______ dancers twirled across the stage.

Answers: 1. blond (adjective) 2. blonde (noun) 3. blond (noun) 4. blond (adjective)

About Erin Roof

Editor for hire. Dictionary collector. Part-time cat lady. Word nerd blogging at grammarpartyblog.com
This entry was posted in copy editing, grammar and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Blond vs. Blonde

  1. Smaktakula says:

    I blame the French for just about everything.
    Okay, so I am blond, not a blonde. But if, for example, I make a blonde joke (which are uproariously funny, but somehow become racist if you change the hair color–because, you know, blond people are stupid and slutty), should I make it a “blond” joke so that I’m not being sexist?

    • Erin Roof says:

      I’m not sure about that one. I mean, when are blond/e jokes ever about men? (They should be.) Perhaps because it’s used as an adjective there, it should be “blond,” not because of any sexist reason. Your best bet is to probably just stop saying them. :)

      • bsk says:

        Well, it’s not the joke that is blond, but the main character that is a blond(e). That means it would be a “blonde-joke” or a “blond-joke” depending of the gender. If you don’t know if it’s a male or a female and you want to follow the French rule: masculine prevails.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why are blond/e jokes so short?
        So men can understand them.

  2. julianstodd says:

    As ever, i enjoy reading your posts and learn something every time. Thank you :-)

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  5. Anonymous says:

    This is wrong.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is great, thanks for clarifying the rules!

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