Saturday, August 17, 2013

Confusing Verbs: LIE and LAY

                                                        (legen oder  liegen?)

BASE FORM             SIMPLE PAST                       PAST PARTICIPLE

lay                               laid                                          laid

lie                                lay                                           lain

 Lay means "to place something down." It is something you do to something else. It is a transitive verb. ( to put-takes an object)

                        Incorrect: Lie the book on the table.

                        Correct: Lay the book on the table.
                        (It is being done to something else.)

Lie means "to recline" or "be placed." It does not act on anything or anyone else. It is an intransitive verb. (to recline-does not take an object)

                        Incorrect: Lay down on the couch.

                        Correct: Lie down on the couch.
                        (It is not being done to anything else.)

The reason lay and lie are confusing is their past tenses.

The past tense of lay is laid.

The past tense of lie is lay.

                        Incorrect: I lay it down here yesterday.

                        Correct: I laid it down here yesterday.
                        (It is being done to something else.)

                        Incorrect: Last night I laid awake in bed.

                        Correct: Last night I lay awake in bed.
                        (It is not being done to anything else.)

The past participle of lie is lain. The past participle of lay is like the past tense, laid.

Examples: I could have lain in bed all day.

They have laid an average of 500 feet of sewer line a day.

Layed is a misspelling and does not exist. Use laid.




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