My grammar review class ends tomorrow, to be followed by Fundamentals of Copyediting. That’s right, I’m going to learn how to make all those mysterious squiggly marks that tell the writer what she’s done wrong. Though I think it quite possible that I will never copyedit anything on paper. Track changes, FTW.
I can’t believe I used the not-even-hip-anymore phrase FTW. If I were myself, I would copyedit that right out of here.
As you might have surmised from the title, it’s time you people learned the difference between lie and lay. You have no idea, do you? You guess, or use the one that sounds right to your (unreliable) ear. Yeah. I’m talking to you.
Let’s start with the infinitive, shall we?
To lie means to rest, or to recline.
To lay means to put, or to place.
Here’s an easy rule: to lay takes a direct object. You must lay something somewhere. To lie does not take a direct object. You can just lie there, it’s ok.
The other meaning of to lie, which is to tell a fib, doesn’t seem to give anybody trouble. (The act of lying, in the prevaricating sense, doesn’t seem to bother anybody either.) So just forget about that for now.
With me so far? Good.
To complicate matters a wee bit, the past tense of lie is lay. Don’t blame me, I didn’t make up this language.
The past participle of lie is lain.
Ok, switch verbs.
The past tense of lay is laid.
The past participle of lay is also laid.
Note that laid, like lay, takes a direct object. (BUT, when lay is being the past tense of lie, it does not take a direct object.)
Got it? Don’t you feel better now? I do.