Sunday, September 14, 2008

To lay or to lie?

Two verbs that I struggle with are lay and lie.
Lay means to place or put. The past tense is laid. We speak of laying something on something, such as laying a book on a table, or if you did it yesterday, you laid a book on the table.
Lie means to recline. Many times it is used with the adverb down, as in "I would like to lie down on the bed." Here is where it gets really fun: the past tense is lay, just like the present tense of the other verb! The past participle is lain. If I decided to lie down, I would lay on the bed for a while, then realize that I had lain there too long.
I don't know about you, but I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I need to go lie down!


valphish said...

Lain is the weird word.  I don't think I have ever used it or heard anyone use it either.  Lay, laid, laid, lie, lay, lain.  Right?  LOL  Hugs, Val xox
P.S.  This is a cool blog!

helmswondermom said...

I was thinking about covering this one myself.  I hate to do this, but I have to make one correction.  I may be mistaken, and I will double check when I get the chance, but I believe that it would be "I would lie on the bed for a while", not "I would lay".  Lay is past tense of lie, though, so you would say "I lay on the bed yesterday" as opposed to "I lie on the bed today."  But when you put that word "would" in there it changes things.  And if you were to say "would have" it would be "lain."  It would also be "will lie", "am lying", and "have lain."  And now you ARE lying down, aren't you? lol

luvrte66 said...

I think you're right, Lori, and thanks for the additional info. I think the "would" changes the usage. It IS confusing, isn't it?!


dbdacoba said...

You could follow this one , if you haven't preceded it, with "mondegreen" - a word or phrase which results from mishearing another word or phrase, thus:

    "She's Lady Mondegreen" becomes "She's laid him on the green."


luvrte66 said...

D, a while back I actually wrote an entry (on my own journal) about the word "mondegreen!" I love it. There's a great site that deals with misheard song lyrics:

It's a lot of fun!