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Lay or Lie
Ever been corrected - or probably you corrected someone - for saying, "I am going to lay down" when the correct way to make that statement is "I am going to lie down?"
In either case, you're pardoned because these two little verbs, "lay" and "lie", have been a hiccup to English speakers for many years. So I will not blame anyone for being among the confused (like me).
I only hope this lesson can help us figure it out.
LAY or LIE
Lay- to place (something or someone) down in a flat position.
Lie - to be in a flat position on a surface. Therefore, the difference is simple: LAY is a transitive verb which requires an object; a person or thing to be placed down.
- Lay the books on the table, please.
- You should lay down your cards.
On the other hand, LIE is an intransitive verb which does not require an object. It is for someone or something moving on their own or something that is already in position.
- Are you okay? You can lie down on the sofa.
- Alice cries as she lies in bed.
That is head-spinning enough, but it gets worse when we start using the words beyond their present tense:
- lay - laid - laid - laying
- lie - lay - lain - lying
And there's the unrelated verb meaning, "to make false statements." - lie - lied - lied - lying
Yes, I agree it is complicated, but we would not rush ourselves. Let us focus on the present tense form
- they do the most work.
- "Lay" requires an object (you lay a person or thing down.)
- "Lie" does not (a person or thing lies down.)
Complete each sentence carefully with lay or lie.
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