The difference between“Lay“y“Lie“
“Lay“y“lie“they are easy to confuse (especially when talking about horizontal positioning).
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- Every morning, he lays her dressing gown on the bed.
- In the evenings, I lie on my sofa and listen to music.
- When I was young, I lay on my sofa and listened to music.
(“Lay“is the past tense of“lie.“Beware! This is the main reason for the confusion between“to lie“and“to lay.“)
- I lie for you all the time.
Table Showing the Forms
The following table shows the various forms of“put“and both meanings of“to lie“:
|Present Tense||Past Tense||Participles|
|To lay (to place in a horizontal position)|
|To lie (to tell an untruth)|
|To lie (to be in a horizontal position)|
There is often confusion about verbs“to lay“y“to lie“. The confusion arises because“to lie“[place something horizontally] and“to lie“[be horizontal] have similar meanings. The confusion is not helped by the past tense of“to lie“(when it means to be in a horizontal position) being“lay“.
These are the most common terms with“to lie“y“to lay“:
- To lay something flat (e.g., a table cloth) ✔️
- To lie flat (i.e., to be in a lying position) ✔️
(Remember that“He lay flat“is correct for the past tense.)
- To lie low (to keep a low profile) ✔️
(“He lay low“is correct for the past tense.)
- To lie down (to get into a lying position) ✔️
(“He lay down“is correct for the past tense.)
- To lie ahead (to be in the future or farther down the road) ✔️
(“It lay ahead“is correct for the past tense.)
To Lay (Past Tense: Laid)
“To lay“means to place something in a position, especially a horizontal position. For example:
- The maids lay the table for dinner at 7 o’clock. ✔️
- The policeman urged the boys to lay their weapons on the floor. ✔️
- Put your hands up, and lie down your weapons. ✔️
(This should be“lay down.“)
- We are expecting our white spotted bamboo shark to lay eggs in April. ✔️
El tiempo pasado de“lay“es“laid“. For example:
- Annabelle laid the puppy in the basket. ✔️
- The body was laid on the bank and the coroner was notified. ✔️
The past participle is also“Market Stall“. For example:
- According to the pamphlet, we should have laid old sheets on the floor to prevent paint splashes landing on the decking.✔️
- A teenager killed by a shark in northern New South Wales has been laid to rest. ✔️
To Lie (Past Tense: Lay)
El verbo“to lie“(with past tense“lay“) means“be in a horizontal position or move towards it“. For example:
- I think I’ll lie down for 20 minutes after lunch.
- Lie on your back and look at the stars.
- Clutching his betting slip, Mr. Reynolds screamed,“Get up! Don’t just lie there.“However, Paul was just lying on his back with one eye on the referee while the count went ahead.
(The present participle of to“to lie“is“lying.“)
- My problem lies in reconciling my gross habits with my net income.
(As in this example,“to lie“can simply mean“to be.“)
Remember that the past tense of“the mendir“in this meaning is“lay“. For example:
- An alibi? I just lay on the sofa all night, watching The Simpsons.
- The snow lay on the field all week.
El participio pasado de“to lie“in this meaning is“another“. For example:
- Mark had lain at the foot of the knoll for hours. ✔️
- How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home? ✔️
The Main Culprit
El error más común es usar“lie“instead of“lay“. If you remember that“lie“can’t take a direct object, then it will remove this error.
- To lay your head on the pillow. ✔️
- To lie your head on the pillow. ❌
(In these examples,“your head“is the direct object. Remember that“lie“cannot have a direct object.)
- My chicken lays eggs. ✔️
- My chicken lies eggs. ❌
(In these examples,“eggs“is the direct object. Remember that“lie“cannot have a direct object.)
The Other Culprits
“Lay“(the past tense of“to lie“) is not common, and some people are tempted (incorrectly) to use“laid“. For example:
- The crocodile laid still for hours. ❌
(This should be be“lay.“)
“Others“is quite a rare word, and some people are tempted (incorrectly) to use“laid“for this too. For example:
- The snow had laid on the field all week. ❌
(This should be“another.“)