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The Problems That “Lay” With “Lie”

I’m back from vacation, where I spent a great deal of time relaxing and catching up on my sleep. So, I figure an entry related to sleep is in order.

People misuse “lay” and “lie” all the time, in their speech and in their writing. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Lay is an action word: I will lay  the book on the table. The prosecutor laid all the blame on the defendant. Watch the sheriff as he lays down the law.

Maybe this is where people get confused: “Lay” also is the past tense of lie, which refers to a state of reclining along a horizontal plane. Thus,  He lay on the beach all day. NOTE: He laid on the beach all day also is correct.

Other forms of lie: I lie on his bench because I am homeless (present tense); She is lying down on the bed (present participle).

Here’s another place people might feel confused: “Lie” also means to make an untrue statement. When using “lie” in that sense, the forms are I/you/we lie, he/she/it lies, he/she/it /we lied, everybody’s lying.

This entry tired me out. I think I will go lay my head on my pillow as I lie on my bed.

Until next time! Use the right words!


August 16, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , ,

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