Lie or Lay???

Do you know what the difference is between ‘lie’ and ‘lay’?

Lie means “to recline”. It’s an intransitive verb which means it does not take a direct object.

I am lying on the bed.

Lay means “to put” or “to place”. It’s a transitive verb which means it takes a direct object.

I am laying the shirt on the table.

There is one tricky part, the past tense of ‘lie’ is ‘lay’. Also, the past tense of ‘lay’ is ‘laid’. So, you have to be careful which you use.

Also, remember that ‘lie’ also has another meaning and that meaning is “to not tell the truth”.

6 thoughts on “Lie or Lay???”

  1. Oh, I think I get it. This was a good explanation. Thank you, teacher! 🙂

    Though the fact that “lay” is the past tense of “lie” still bothers me, I mean, can’t they change it to something less confusing? 😛

    You know, I REALLY wonder who came up and said: “OK, guys, we’re gonna take this verb here and make it so it also acts as the past tense of this other verb.”

    Way to go, Einstein -__-

    Your explanation did help to clarify it though, so thank you! 🙂

  2. It must be frustrating as an English learner! I took a History of English class and I learned about why English is so bizarre with spellings, etc. I’ll have to write a post about it. But, it does not cover the whole lay/lie issue. 🙂

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