I Cannot Tell a Lie: Sometimes I Misuse that Word

When to use "lay" versus "lie."

By the Grammar Goddess


For even the most grammatically correct among us, knowing when to use “lay” and when to use “lie” can present a challenge.  Correctly using the word “lay” versus “lie” requires using it in reference to a direct object. Using “lie” (except where truth is concerned) does not. So, while you can correctly lie down on your bed, you must lay the pillow on the bed because the pillow is a direct object whereas you, in a present tense action, are not.

Wait, what? 

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Margot Ashley December 31, 2012 at 04:08 PM
In less technical terms: if you place yourself in a horizontal position, you LIE down; if you are putting something else down, you LAY it down. Dogs do no lay down; they lie down because they are moving themselves.


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