Lay vs. Lie

"Lay" and "lie" are often confused--and always confusing.

"Lay" is a verb meaning to put or place something somewhere.It takes a direct object. Its principal parts are "lay," "laid," "laid," and "laying."

Examples: Every day I lay the book on the table. Yesterday I laid the book on the table. I have laid the book on the table many times.I am laying the book on the table right now.

In all these examples, the verb is a form of the word "lay," and the direct object is "book."

"Lie" is, in this context, a verb meaning to recline. It does not take an object. Its principal parts are "lie," "lay," "lain," and "lying."

Examples: Every night I lie down. I lay down last night. I have lain down many times. I am lying down right now.

If you're in doubt about whether to use "lay" or "lie," try substituting a form of the verb "place." If it makes sense, use a form of "lay." And if you have a grammar trap you'd like to see discussed or know of a tip that will help the rest of us avoid a grammar trap, please let us know.

Do you have a grammar or usage trap you'd like to see discussed? Do you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one? If so, please let me know.


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