February 11, 2015

Lay & Lie: Grammar & Writing Tips

It's Wednesday--time for another grammar tip.

Today's Topic: Lay and Lie

At least we can get one thing straight right away. If you don't tell the truth, you tell a lie (past tense: lied). 

Now things start to get more complicated, but here's a simple trick...

A person/animal will lie down, but an object needs someone to lay it down. That's pretty easy. Note: when I grew up, I was taught only humans lie down (animals lay down). That's no longer the case. Animals also lie, unless a chicken needs to lay an egg. *chuckle*

But, as is true of most things in Grammar World, there is a complication.

The past tense of lie is lay. What? Again, the deciders of all things grammar love to mock us. 

So, for a handy resource, I put it in a graphic*.

Just in case I haven't emphasized it enough, Grammar Girl is an excellent resource for your grammar questions. Everything is laid out (see how I did that) in a simple to understand and comprehensive manner.

Thanks to Susan for commenting about covering lay and lie.

Is there an editing/grammar issue that's always caused you trouble? If so, share it in the comments so I can feature it on a future post. 

* I'm just starting to play around with PicMonkey, so no graphic masterpieces yet.


Jo Michaels said...

Awesome tip! Love your graphic :) I totally linked this at the end of my writing tip today. BWAHAHHA! Anything to help keep folks straight. WRITE ON!

Unknown said...

This was one that caused me pause, but your graphic makes it easy!! Thanks for this!
Note: Also love Grammar Girl and Jo Micheals!