Latest posts by techwriter (see all)
- 7 Tips to Write Great Essays - January 5, 2018
- How to Eliminate Abstract Nouns - January 3, 2018
- 3 Important Differences Between Academic versus Technical Writing - January 1, 2018
© Ugur Akinci
Do you have any trouble using the verbs LIE and LAY correctly? Do you use “lie” when you are supposed to use “lay,” or the other way around?
Then let me try to help you.
Here is the main difference between them:
LIE means to “recline.” It is an INTRANSITIVE verb. It does NOT take an object.
For example: “I lie in a hammock.”
LAY means to “put down” or “place” something. It is a TRANSITIVE verb. It does take an object.
For example: “He was ordered to lay down his gun.”
However, the PAST tense of LIE and the PRESENT tense of LAY are the same: LAY!
Thus you need to pay attention to the context to understand which “lay” the speaker is using.
PRESENT TENSE OF LAY (place): “You can lay your jacket on that chair.”
PAST TENSE OF LIE (recline): “The pumpkins lay in the field.”
Here is a VISUAL CLUE for you:
If the second letter (“i”) stands alone like a pole, it does NOT take an object. It means to recline.
If the second letter (“a”) looks like a bent-over person, a person LOWERING an OBJECT (to the floor), it takes an object. It means to place or put down something.
Here is a summary table:
|Present||Second Letter Clue||Past||Past Participle|
Write tight. Stay bright. Serve right.