segunda-feira, 25 de julho de 2011

Lay or Lie

Hello, everyone!
Some of us still take pride in using correct grammar when possible. For those of you who do, one of the most common misuses of words occurs with the verbs lay and lie.
The English verbs lay and lie are commonly confused by even native English speakers. I'm not lying when I say that you can now lay your fears of not knowing the difference to rest.
This one can just be confusing, so here are some simple tricks to remember which is which.
To lie or not to lie? That is the question.

First of all, let's start with the present tense and get a clear understanding as when to use each word.
According to

  • to put or place in a horizontal position or position of rest; set down: to lay a book on a desk. 
  • to be in a horizontal, recumbent, or prostrate position, as on a bed or the ground; recline.
  • (of objects) to rest in a horizontal or flat position.
Keep in mind, then, that if you or something is resting in a position, you would use "lie" or a tense of it. Examples are: I lie on the bed when exhausted. He lies down when sick. The book lies sideways on the book case.
If you are placing something somewhere, then use the word "lay" or a tense of it. Examples are: Lay that book down on the book case. Lay your head on the pillow and rest.

It's easy enough to get these confused when in the present tense, but then we add other tenses into the mix.

For lie, it's lay, lain and lying. 

So here we go!


Today, I lie on the couch.

Yesterday, I lay on the couch.

Many times, I have lain on the couch.

I was lying on the couch yesterday.

For lay, it's laid, laid, laying.

Today, you lay pen on the table.

Yesterday, you laid the pen on the table.

Many times, you have laid the pen on the table.

You were laying the pen on the table when I saw you. 


As I said earlier, it's tricky, and that's why so many mistakes are made. The best advice I can give you is to spend some time memorizing the various tenses of each verb and then try to practice them daily. You could say these sentences in the shower, for example.
Once you get it firmly placed in your mind, you will impress those who are in the know with your correct usage of these words. Grammar still matters to some of us, and it's fun to speak properly.
Adapted from:

See you!
Teacher Jô

Nenhum comentário:

Postar um comentário