Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TIP TUESDAY: LIE LAY LAIN LAY LAID LAYING

Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

The verbs lie and lay confuse many people.

If you learn their definitions, it might help you keep them straight.

Lie means "to be or to stay at rest in a horizontal position," while lay means "to beat or strike down with force" or "to put or set down."

The past tense (or -ed form) of lie is lay, and the -ing form is lying.

In casual conversation, if you say I think I'll lay down, then that's fine with me, but if you want your writing to be correct, then put those little fingers on the computer keys and tap out I think I'll lie down.

The past tense (or -ed form) of lay is laid, and the -ing form is laying.

Example: Students, please lay your essay papers on the table. The students did as they were told yesterday and laid their essay papers on the table.

If your dog only responds to "lay down," then he doesn't know standard English usage. Please teach him to "lie down."


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Source: Understanding English Grammar by Martha Kolln

Thanks, fishducky!

38 comments:

  1. It's very confusing and I wrestled with this earlier today. You've helped clarify. Thank you. Admittedly, confusion continues to lie within. (Is that right?)
    Love you.

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  2. Replies
    1. I'm confused about many things, such as why do we have a president named Trump?

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    2. HA! You crack me up. (And that's no LIE!)

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  3. I had a friend whose dad was in school administration. Whenever we used lie/lay incorrectly as kids he would say "people lie, chickens lay"

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  4. Hi Janie - I hope I know which is which ... but for now can only think of Lay Lady Lay ... have a good week -cheers Hilary

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  5. This has always confused me and I admit that I will go out of my way to rewrite a sentence without using the word, just to avoid making a mistake. lol

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    1. Google will help you write your sentence. Google knows all.

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  6. I think it's that whole past tense being the other word that started the confusion. I mean, come on, creators of English, the past tense of lie is lay but lay is a totally different word? Let's try a second draft, Marriam and Webster (who I presume are the creators of grammar, or was it Strunk and White?).

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  7. Thanks for this one, Janie. I'm guilty. I always do get confused with this one. Hope you are doing well.

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  8. HAHA! I had a good laugh with the comment about the dog! Thanks for another great lesson.

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    1. When I make a grammatical error, Franklin and Penelope give me a hard time.

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  9. I've always struggled a bit with this, I must confess. Thanks for the clarification!

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  10. I've heard a lot of dogs being told to "Go lay down."

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  11. Thanks for this. My dogs do lie down, that's to say Faith does, while Samson gives me the look and walks away. Nordic breeds are hard to train, but so sweet.

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    Replies
    1. Samson and Faith are such cutie pies.

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  12. English grammar, as you know better than most, is maddening. I say this a non-native speaker who learned it starting in fifth grade. We conjugated verbs ad nauseam only to discover we needed to memorize all the irregular ones, and it seemed like there were more of those than the regular ones.

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    1. English grammar has driven many people to madness.

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  13. I'm so often thankful that I was such a reader, because the more you read of what's written correctly, the more it comes naturally to write and speak correctly. I would not like having to learn correct usage at this point in my life. But you are doing a great job of helping people do just that.

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    1. Reading good books makes a huge difference in the way we speak and write.

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  14. I do get confused. I still think I am going to go lay myself down because I am not already lying down. I am setting myself down to sleep. Probably is an issue of my body having always felt like a separate part of me--LOL! I am going to lie myself down sounds weird to my ear. They have always been confusing to me and I think they still are. ;)

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    1. Why don't you lie down to take a nap? It will all be better when you awake.

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  15. I always tell my dog to lie down. He doesn't always listen tho.

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  16. For decades, children have been kneeling beside their beds every night saying, "Now I lay me down to sleep..." (Maybe because generations of parents didn't want to encourage their little angels to "lie"...?)

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    1. That prayer is the worst: If I should die before I wake . . .

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  17. There are certain verbs that I nearly always check, and these are two of them. I used to teach third grade and there, their, and they're were the bane of my existence! LOL You explained it all so well! Have a good one!

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    1. I look up many words before I dare to use them.

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  18. I would be lying if I claimed to ever have this correct!

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  19. This is one of those matters of usage that I usually have to think a bit before coming to a conclusion and even then I sometimes wonder if I've used it correctly. You've clarified it for me. Now if I can remember I'll be doing good.


    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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