Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lay or Lie? -- or Just Losing my Mind!?

This has been driving me nuts for years.  Before reading any further, ask yourself, "Do I really know the difference between the words lay and lie?"  If you're like me, laying/lying (?) in bed, having trouble sleeping at night, not knowing if you are using the words properly, prepare to get a good night's rest.  Here's the story that I learned after doing a little research.

"Lay" is a transitive verb.  That means it must have some sort of action and is always followed by an object which receives the action.  "Lay" means to place something.  I lay my bag on the table.  (The action is me placing, and the object is my bag.)  If you did it yesterday, you laid your bag on the table.  You may also have laid many bags on many tables.

"Lie" is intransitive and means to recline.  It doesn't need an object to receive the action.  The boy lies down.  (The boy is the subject, and he's reclining, but there's no object receiving anything.)  Here's where it get confusing: the past tense of lie is lay.  So, the boy lay down yesterday.  He has lain down each day this week.

Try to fill in the blanks with either: lay, laid, lie, lay or lain.
1.  I was exhausted last night, so I ______ down for a quick nap.
2.  She ______ the baby in the crib each evening.
3.  Every morning this week, the dog has _____ on the concrete floor to cool off.
4.  My mom _______ the cards on the table.
5.  The cat _______ still waiting for the mouse to move.

1.  lay
2.  lay(s)
3.  lain
4.  laid
5.  lie(s)

How'd you do?


  1. Hi! Following you from a blog hop!:0)
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  2. Something I never knew! I think I got most of them right thanks to reading which makes me somewhat smarter. I think many of the grammar rules are hard to remember! Thanks for the info.

  3. Thanks for stopping by! Following you back :)

  4. He he... this reminds me of the old "Pictures are hung, people are hanged" saying... although I'm not sure I even got that right. How often does one refer to someone being hanged? Hopefully not that frequently. But I digress...

    I wanted to thank you for commenting on "My Little Boob Man" and following my blog! I am sorry I'm just now getting back to you... my spam box ate your comment and I just saw it last night!

    I am following you via GFC and I'll stop back when I have more time and read more! Right now I'm trying to get back to everyone who commented and got lost in the abyss of my spam box! Have a wonderful weekend!

    Smiles, Jenn

  5. Thank you for this. I consider myself a stickler for grammar, but this is "the one" that I could never get!

    Following you fromt the blog hop...would appreciate an add too ;)

  6. Thanks for that info! YES I have wondered about that quite a few times. lol Thanks for stopping by my blog! I returned the follow. =) I look forward to sharing your info with my Children!