There are some words in the English language that are confusing not only to non-native speakers like me, but also to many native speakers.
An example I mentioned in a previous post is about i.e. and e.g.
Today I did some research and reading on lie and lay. I would like to share what I read and learned.
1. Understand the definition –
Lie means to rest or recline. Lie is an intransitive verb, so no direct object will follow.
2. Know the correct verb form –
The following table is helpful in choosing the correct verb form:
|Infinitive||Definition||Simple Present||Simple Past||Past Participle||Present Participle|
|to lay||to put something down||lay(s)||laid||laid||laying|
|to lie||to rest or recline||lie(s)||lay||lain||lying|
What makes things more confusing and complicated is that “Lie” also has a different meaning - A false statement deliberately presented as being true. In this case “lie” also has different verb forms – to lie, lies, lied, lied, lying.
If I can remember these two important points, I will no longer be confused and should be able to use lie and lay correctly.
3. Examples -
Present tense: I lie down on my bed to rest my weary bones.
Past tense: Yesterday, I lay there thinking about what I had to do during the day.
Past participle: But I remembered that I had lain there all morning one day last week.
Present tense: As I walk past, I lay the tools on the workbench.
Past tense: As I walked past, I laid the tools on the workbench.
Past participle: . . . I had laid the tools on the workbench.
After I “lay” something down, it’s just “lying” there. It’s not doing anything to anyone or anything.
For more information, visit the following websites: