To lay means to place in a horizontal position.|
To lie means:
(1) to be in a horizontal position (Beware! The past tense is lay).
(2) to speak an untruth.
There is often confusion over the verbs to lay and to lie.
Lay and LaidTo lay means to put place something in a position, especially a horizontal position.
The maids lay the table for dinner at 7 o'clock.
Sudan urges rebels to lay down arms.
Put your hands up, and lie down your weapons.
(should be lay down)
In April, our white spotted bamboo shark began to lay eggs.
The past tense is laid:
Annabelle laid the puppy in the basket.
They laid the body on the bank and notified the coroner.
The past participle is also laid:
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.
Lie, Lied, Lay and LainThe verb to lie has two unrelated meanings:
TABLE SHOWING THE FORMS
Tabulated below are the various forms of lay, lie, and lie:
The most common mistake is to use lie instead of lay. If you remember that lie cannot take a direct object, then you will eliminate 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, lie cannot have a direct object.)
My chicken lays eggs.
My chicken lies eggs.
(In these examples, eggs is the direct object. Remember, lie cannot have a direct object.)
THE OTHER CULPRITS
Lay (past tense of to lie) is not common. To many people, laid sounds okay:
The crocodile laid still for hours.
(should be lay)
Lain is not a common word. To many people, laid sounds correct.
The snow had laid on the field all week.
(should be lain)