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The propers uses of lie versus lay, one of the most common errors people commit.

LIE VERSUS LAY – Using “lie” and “lay” often creates confusion and here are points to remember about the proper uses of these two words.

Among the most common grammar errors is the use of “lie” and “lay” in sentences. It creates confusion to the writer as to when and how it should be used. There are really just some things that always mess with our minds despite the years of learning and education.

And the words “lie” and “lay” are perfect examples of how it used to be fine in our heads but appeared gibberish the moment it’s written down along with other English terms such as They’re vs. Their vs. There, Your vs. You’re, Its vs. It’s, Affect vs. Effect, To vs. Too, i.e. vs. e.g., Who vs. Whom vs. Whose vs. Who’s, Lose vs. Loose, Assure vs. Insure vs. Ensure, Compliment vs. Complement, and many other.

Lie Versus Lay

As for “lie” and “lay”, the difference comes as to how the term is used in a sentence. “Lay” is used when there’s something to place or to be put somewhere while “lie”, as an intransitive verb, does not need an object and means to place something or someone in a flat position. “Lay” is transitive that requires the verb to have an object.

See the present tense, past tense, and past participle:

Present Past Past Participle
lielaylain
laylaidlaid

“Lay” as the past tense of “lie” can be tricky but always remember that it’s not because there is any overlap between the two verbs. You’re just using the verb regardless of its sound.

Here are some sample sentences with “lie”:

  • I lie down to bed right after eating supper. (Present tense)
  • I love to lie down on the soft sand of the beach with the calm waves in the background. (Present tense)
  • He lay on bed that night and stared at the ceiling thinking of his dreams put on hold. (Past tense)
  • Yesterday, I lay on his chest and cried my heart out. (Past tense)
  • He had lain there in the grass since. (Past participle)
  • I had lain down my soul in a bed of roses to rest. (Past participle)

Here are some sample sentences with “lay”:

  • Shall I lay this tray on the bed?
  • I don’t like it when you lay your wet shoes on the floor.
  • My dog’s toys are always laid beside their water.
  • I left my wet clothes laid on the couch.

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