I have begun questioning my usage of lay and lie, asking myself each time I use them if I’m using the correct one.
Of course we know that lie is telling a mistruth, but what about when we’re talking about something being horizontal?
I’ve looked the usages up so many times that I thought I should share them with you. I mean, chances are I’m not the only one having this problem, right? Note: Please just nod in agreement so I don’t feel like a big dummy.
For example, You lie down on the couch. See how you’re taking an action and there’s no direct object?
You lay the pen next to your notebook. This is because lay refers to the pen, a direct object.
So, if you’re talking about yourself, you probably use lie. If you’re talking about another object, use lay.
Now that we’ve conquered the present tense, allow me to blow your mind. You use entirely different words when you refer to putting something down in the past tense.
The past tense of lie is lay. For example, Did you lay down for a while?
Yep. I think they did that just to confuse us.
The past tense of lay is laid. For example, He laid the book down and forgot it.
So, it’s lie/lay and lay/laid, depending on present or past tense usage.
I think I need to lie down after writing this post!
Is that simple enough? I certainly hope so. If not, you can use this post as your common reference point for determining which to use. I bet I’ll be doing the same.
Now go forth and use words correctly!