Sometimes, I get stalled when I hit certain words while drafting. I know that I shouldn’t, but these two get me every time. Blond(e) and the various conjugations of Lay/Lie. “They” say that you can practice these words and get comfortable with them. So comfortable, that those issues will slink away into some dark place where they grow into little gremlins, like abstruse language. Well, “they” can be right sometimes. I decided that I should write a quick blog entry to pacify “they” and hopefully decrease my stalled attempts at usage. Little gremlins, I have my eye on you.
Blond vs. Blonde
This French origin word can give me such a hard time. The rules to remember are as a noun the ‘e’ version of the word indicates a female. i.e. The woman is a blonde. Drop the ‘e’ for the male noun. The masculine version of the word can be used with indefinite gender or generalization. We can get away with using the non-e version of the word as an adjective to either a male or female noun that it describes. However, the general rule should follow the same usage as the noun.
- Blonde = Fair-haired female
- Blond = Fair-haired male or when we are really not sure of the gender
The Lay/Lie Fiasco
The really hard part with lay and lie, I think, can be attributed to the fact that they share words across different conjugations. Take a look at what I mean.
Lay – Transitive verb (that means it needs an object)
Conjugations : Lay, Laid, Have Laid, Laying
I lay the gun down.
Lie – Intransitive (something or someone moving on their own or already in position)
Conjugations : Lie, Lay, Have Lain, Lying
The gun lies on the ground.
And to just mix it up a bit:
Lie – To tell an untruth
Conjugations : Lie, Lied, Have Lied, Lying