Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Writing Tips: Lay/Lie

Writing tips from the EC editors


This is the most common verb tense error.

From Dictionary of Problem Words and Expressions by Harry Shaw:
'Lay' means "to place" and is a transitive verb requiring an object.
     Present tense (lay): Is it better to lay a baby on its stomach or on its back?
     Past tense (laid): She laid the baby gently in the crib.
     Past participle (laid): She had laid the baby there dozens of times before.

'Lie' means "to recline", is intransitive, and takes no object.
     Present tense (lie): My dog loves to lie on my bed.
     Past tense (lay): The man lay where he fell in the street.
     Past participles (lain): He has lain there all night.


Kevyn Sexton said...

And then there's always "getting laid" which is entirely different.

ECPI Editors said...

Ah yes, well...that's not addressed in the grammar books. ;-)