Because TUO brought it up: Lay/Lie

Because TUO brought it up:

Lay or Lie?
Lay means “to place something down.” It is something you do to something else. It is a transitive verb.

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.

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.

From the English Plus website, which is a *really good* place to find information about spelling, grammar, usage, and even punctuation. I get their newsletter regularly. Because I am a nerd. Grammar nerd at your service!







10 responses to “Because TUO brought it up: Lay/Lie”

  1. rilla Avatar

    Confession: I never knew the rules for lay and lie. I just fudged it. Thanks for helping me to be a better grammar nerd.

  2. Amy Avatar

    Have I told you lately that I love you?

  3. cenobyte Avatar

    @Rilla – I haven’t got a clue either. Which is why I have this particular page bookmarked. And it’s also why I almost always choose a different word.

    @Amy – You’re welcome!

  4. Silent Winged Coyote Avatar
    Silent Winged Coyote

    I went and checked out the site. Sweet add, into the favorites it goes.

    The main reason I wanted to post was cuz my wv was raidamn. :)

  5. Melistress Avatar

    This makes my head hurt…kind of like numbers do to other people. :-(

  6. viperpilot Avatar

    ZOMG synchronicity. For you, re: this, Ceno:

  7. cenobyte Avatar

    ViperPilot: HA!
    I believe tomorrow’s post shall be on this very topic…

    1. cenobyte Avatar

      There was much more to this post before, which had to do with me saying the usage in the commic was correct, and then a bunch of stuff about subjective and objective cases, and I was totally saying that “My friend and me” was right, but it wasn’t, and I don’t know where that bit of the post went, but it’s gone.

      And Anna’s being terribly mean to me about it, so I thought I’d just mention that I was totally out to lunch when I was attempting to screw with ViperPilot’s head on that one.

      1. cenobyte Avatar

        Anna’s still being mean to me. She’s threatened to put kiwis in my pants if I don’t post the original comment (which she was able to recover). Here it is:

        “Although. To be persnickety, technically, the correct usage is: “My friend and me”.

        “My friend and I” is a statement in which the pronoun cases do not agree.

        You wouldn’t say “her and I”; you would say “she and I”. “My friend” can be replaced with “her”.

        “I” is called the nominative case, or the ’subjective’. It can also be used as a predicate pronoun. You use it as the subject in a sentence: I threw the beer can.

        “Me” is the objective case, or the object of a sentence: You threw the beer can at me.

        In the case of the phrase “My friend and [me]“, It parses thus:

        [My friend]= pronoun phrase (subjective)
        [and]= conjunction
        [me]= pronoun (objective)


        As Anna pointed out, “My friend and …” in this case *is* a subjective noun phrase, and so it would be correct to say “I” rather than “me”. In other words, you could replace “My friend and ….” with “we”, which is a subjective pronoun, and you’d be correct. If you replaced it with the objective pronoun (“us”), you’d be incorrect.

        So. Yeah. I’m pretty sure I was trying to screw with ViperPilot’s head on that one, because my *rationale* doesn’t even make *sense*. But, just in case I wasn’t trying to just be a douche (which I do, on occasion), look at the vastness of my wrongity. GAZE UPON IT AND COWER!

        Please, Anna. No kiwi pants.

  8. Parmeisan Avatar

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


i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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