Lay or Lie?

The words lie or lay seem to cause problems for people. How do you know when to use which one? Let’s see if we can clear it up a little bit.

Lie or Lay

Lay (lay, laid, laying) means “to put” or “to place.” Because it’s a verb (action word) it requires an object to complete the meaning:

  • Please lay the groceries on the counter.
  • She laid her resignation letter on the boss’s desk.
  • He is always laying his schoolbooks on the kitchen table.

Lie (lie, lay, lain, lying) means “to recline, rest, or stay” or “to take a position of rest.” Unlike lay, which requires it, lie cannot take an object.

  • She said she was going to lie on the bed to test the mattress.
  • The pleading was lying on his desk for him to sign.

A way to remember the difference is that if you can replace the questionable lie or lay with place (or the correct version of it), then you need to use the correct version of lay. If it doesn’t, use the correct version of lie.

  • She wanted to (lay or lie) down for a nap. Would you say “She wanted to place down for a nap.”? No! So the proper word would be lie.
  • He (laid or lay) the coffee on his secretary’s desk. Is it “He placed the coffee on his secretary’s desk.”? Yes! Then laid is correct.

Another reminder hint might be if you are going to plAce something, then you are going to lAy it, but if you are going to rEst, you are going to liE.

 

 

 

Grammar Giggle – At Least One Word Is Right

I saw this while looking at my local Facebook Marketplace. I clicked to see what it was and was greeted with this. It should be “metal fruit bowl.” But it’s not, so no thank you!

Medal Fruit Bowel

Grammar Giggle – Comming Soon

A friend of my son’s sent this to him from Louisiana. I always think it is a shame when people spend big money on huge banners that have misspellings.

Comming Soon

Grammar Giggle – Getting Ready for the Heat Heat

This was on my local news station this weekend since our big news is the record breaking heat wave we have in store this week. I know it will be hot, but I think one “heat” would have conveyed the message just fine.

Heat Heat

Grammar Giggle – Military Unintelligence

My cousin sent this one to me. Seems to me that if “intelligence” is part of the name of your event, you would figure out how to spell it correctly. This is particularly important if you are spending the money for such a big banner.

Military intelligence

Grammar Giggle – Lincensed

A friend sent this to me. Apparently, this company is not a master of spelling! It is pretty important that businesses at least spell things correctly.

Lincensed