Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Grammar: Lay and Lie

Lay and Lie is one of the most common mistakes in the English language.

Lie is a STILL verb.

Lay is an ACTIVE verb.

Why do we make the mistake in these two verbs? Often it is because of the way they sound to our ears. (Lay down on the floor!) Also, it's that TO LIE is an oddly irregular verb that uses the word lay in its conjugation.

Today I LIE on the sofa.
Yesterday I LAY on the sofa.
Many times I have LAIN on the sofa.

Sometimes, they go hand-in-hand.

I LAY my beach towel on the sand, then I LIE down on it.
Mom LAYS the groceries on the kitchen counter, but then those lazy groceries just LIE there until she does something with them.


LIE (to lie down on a bed): lie, lay, lain, lying

Today I LIE in bed.
Yesterday I LAY in bed.
Many times I have LAIN in bed.
Yesterday I was LYING in bed all day.
LYING in bed all day is boring.

LAY (to place something, to set something down): lay, laid, laid, laying

Today I LAY the book on the counter.
Yesterday I LAID the book on the counter.
Many times I have LAID the book on the counter.
Yesterday I was LAYING the book on the counter when mom came home.
LAYING books on the kitchen counter is against the rules in my house.

LIE (to tell a fib): lie, lied, lied, lying