The Verb "Lay" in English

by Craig Shrives

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Conjugation of "To Lay"

The verb "lay" is an irregular verb. (This means that "lay" does not form its simple past tense or its past participle by adding "-ed" or "-d" to the base form.)

The Five Forms of "To Lay"

FormlayAlternative Name
Base FormlayInfinitive Form
The -S FormlaysThird Person Singular Form
Past FormlaidSimple Past Tense
The -ING FormlayingPresent Participle Form
The Past Participle Formlaid[no alternative name]

"To Lay" in All the Tenses

The tables below show how "lay" conjugates in the past, present, and future tenses.

Past Tenses

PersonSimple PastPast Progressive TensePast Perfect TensePast Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • laid
  • laid
  • laid
  • laid
  • laid
  • laid
The simple past tense is for a completed activity that happened in the past.
  • was laying
  • were laying
  • was laying
  • were laying
  • were laying
  • were laying
The past progressive tense is for an ongoing activity in the past. Often, it is used to set the scene for another action.
  • had laid
  • had laid
  • had laid
  • had laid
  • had laid
  • had laid
The past perfect tense is for emphasizing that an action was completed before another took place.
  • had been laying
  • had been laying
  • had been laying
  • had been laying
  • had been laying
  • had been laying
The past perfect progressive tense is for showing that an ongoing action in the past has ended.

Present Tenses

PersonSimple PresentPresent Progressive TensePresent Perfect TensePresent Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • lay
  • lay
  • lays
  • lay
  • lay
  • lay
The simple present tense is mostly for a fact or a habit.
  • am laying
  • are laying
  • is laying
  • are laying
  • are laying
  • are laying
The present progressive tense is for an ongoing action in the present.
  • have laid
  • have laid
  • has laid
  • have laid
  • have laid
  • have laid
The present perfect tense is for an action that began in the past. (Often, the action continues into the present.)
  • have been laying
  • have been laying
  • has been laying
  • have been laying
  • have been laying
  • have been laying
The present perfect progressive tense is for a continuous activity that began in the past and continues into the present (or finished very recently).

Future Tenses

PersonSimple FutureFuture Progressive TenseFuture Perfect TenseFuture Perfect Progressive Tense
  • I
  • you
  • he/she/it
  • we
  • you
  • they
  • will lay
  • will lay
  • will lay
  • will lay
  • will lay
  • will lay
The simple future tense is for an action that will occur in the future.
  • will be laying
  • will be laying
  • will be laying
  • will be laying
  • will be laying
  • will be laying
The future progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will occur in the future.
  • will have laid
  • will have laid
  • will have laid
  • will have laid
  • will have laid
  • will have laid
The future perfect tense is for an action that will have been completed at some point in the future.
  • will have been laying
  • will have been laying
  • will have been laying
  • will have been laying
  • will have been laying
  • will have been laying
The future perfect progressive tense is for an ongoing action that will be completed at some specified time in the future.

Most Common Irregular Verbs

The two most common irregular verbs in English are "be" and "have." These pages give more details about these two verbs: Here are the next 10 most common irregular verbs in English:

Most Common Irregular Verbs

The two most common irregular verbs in English are "be" and "have." These pages give more details about these two verbs: Here are the next 10 most common irregular verbs in English:

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See Also

How to improve your spelling The most commonly misspelled words in English Top 10 spelling rules in English Parts of Speech Lists 200 Important Irregular Verbs Role-Play Scenarios for English Learners

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