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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wordworking: L is for Lay, or is it Lie?

I look this one up every time I write the word. In fact, I try to avoid saying lie or lay at all-it's just too dang confusing. Anyone else out there in that same boat?

I've enlisted Grammar Girl and Grammar Cat to help us keep it straight and not have to think about creative ways to say that Edward laid a blanket on Bella and then lay down next to her, but even with the blanket she was too cold, so he had to let Jacob lay down instead.

Main thing to remember-Lay (laid laid) is a transitive verb, so it needs an object. Lie (lay lain) is an intransitive verb, so it does not need an object. Am I the only one that gets confused that the past of lie is lay? Yikes! Does anyone have a tip to help me remember the difference without needing my cheat sheet?


"Now I lay me down to sleep..." is that right? Can I lay myself down?

*Edited to add Tracey Bermeo's tip from the comments: Chickens lay eggs. People lie down.

If I got anything wrong, feel free to correct me in the comments.  Are you doing the A to Z challenge? Let me know and I'll come check it out.

Write On:D

19 comments:

  1. It's especially hard to use examples to remember since both versions have a 'lay' in them. I usually resort to having people fall down or some other alternative. When in doubt, avoid.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  2. I have to look this up too. Glad I'm not the only one.

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  3. Some words are confusing I agree,

    Have a good week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  4. Haha, this one is hard! I like the grammar girl thing though, very cute :)

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  5. Yep this is one of those that gets me too!

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  6. I avoid the words altogether, lol. because they confuse me. So you'll find my characters flopping down on the grass, flying under the sheets, slamming on their back, lol.

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  7. Oh you ain't kidding. I always get this one confused too. Good grief. :D

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  8. I do ALWAYS end up correcting myself. I can usually recognize it when I say it wrong, but that doesn't stop me from messing up in the first place.

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  9. I'm like you and try to avoid them all together. It just doesn't click in my head now matter how many explanations I hear. Gah.

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  10. I have to look them up every time I use it too. :)

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  11. I have to double check myself sometimes, too, BUT one thing that has helped me is that, since people lie, they lay down.

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  12. I can quote the rule and know it by heart, but then as I'm writing I'll be darned if I don't question it. I often turn to other writers and ask. :( It's nice to know I'm not alone. It's nice to meet you.

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  13. They are quite confusing! Good post! :)

    -Fellow blogger from A to Z!

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  14. Great post! I had a high school English teacher who taught us this: chickens lay eggs, people lie down. I use this EVERY DAY to remember which word to use. You are not alone!
    A2Z Mommy And What’s In between

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  15. Thinking about this makes my head hurt. I also try to avoid these words whenever possible!

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  16. I'm finally getting these down. I find it helpful to use the word 'put' instead. If this works, then it's lay. Otherwise, it's lie. Great post :)

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  17. I know it's Sunday and you're taking the day off from A-Z, but I just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for a blog award over at my blog today. http://katejarvikbirch.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-liebster-award.html

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Kate! I'll go check it out:)

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  18. I've visited grammar girl over this one on several occasions. Thanks for the refresher, which I know I'll probably have to look up again in the near future. ;)

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