Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

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Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by ebyss on Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:17 am

I know there are links that help with these verbs, but I am still having trouble. Can someone help?

I understand- You lie on the bed. You lay on the bed yesterday. But when do you use lain?

Also people lie (present tense) and you lay an object down (present tense), but what do you use when an object is already at rest? --some object lies on the floor. Do you use lie when the object is already at rest? What about people, do you use lay (present tense) when they are already at rest?????

I am sorry, like I said, I have visited websites, but I am still having troubles.


Last edited by Garmar on Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:44 am; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Stickied.)

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by Guest on Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:32 am

ebyss wrote:I know there are links that help with these verbs, but I am still having trouble. Can someone help?

I understand- You lie on the bed. You lay on the bed yesterday. But when do you use lain?

Also people lie (prestent tense) and you lay an object down (present tense), but I have ran into other times when I have read --some object lies on the floor. Do you use lie when the object is already at rest? What about people, do you use lay (present tense) when they are already at rest?????

I am sorry, like I said, I have visited websites, but I am still having troubles.


As you have mentioned, there are weblinks that will help with the use of these verbs and their forms, but I think the real deal is that we don't really use these words so much in everyday speech, so when we write them, we get the following feeling: scratch

Here's how it goes:


Lie and lay seem to give people more difficulty
than do all the other irregular verbs combined. That's probably because
the past tense form of lie is lay and thus indistinguishable from lay
in the present tense except in usage. (Sit and set, probably the
irregular verbs that give people the most trouble next to lie and lay,
for example, have no parts in common. It's sit, sat and sat but set,
set, set.)

The principal parts (most-common verb forms) of lie are:

lie (present,) lay (past) and lain (past participle).


The principal parts of lay are:

lay (present), laid (past) and laid (past participle).


As an aid in choosing the correct verb forms, remember that lie means to recline, whereas lay means to put something down.

Lie
means that the actor (subject) is doing something to himself or
herself. It's what grammarians call a complete verb. When accompanied
by subjects, complete verbs tell the whole story.
Lay,
on the other hand, means that the subject is acting on something or
someone else; therefore, it requires a complement to make sense. Thus
lay always takes a direct object. Lie never does.


More on “lie”:
In its simplest (command) form, when the you is implied, lie is a
sentence all by itself. If you tell your dog, “Lie,” as in “(You) lie
(down),” that's a complete sentence. (The same is true, by the way, of
sit.) In written material, we generally use down with lie when we mean
to recline not because down is needed grammatically but because we wish
to distinguish from the regular verb lie, meaning to tell an untruth
(as in lie, lied, lied).



Tip: Always remember that lay is a transitive verb and requires a direct object.
(A transitive verb acts as a conveyor belt, transmitting action or
influence from the subject to the object.) The common saying, “Let's
lay out in the sun,” is not only incorrect grammatically, it suggests a
public promiscuity that's frowned on even in this age of sexual
permissiveness because you're implying the existence of a direct object
of lay: “Let's lay (her/him?) out in the sun.” Not that there's
anything wrong with THAT! It's just ungrammatical unless you're talking
about sex.


Correct Usage:

Lie

Present tense: I lie down on my bed to rest my weary bones.
Past tense: Yesterday, I lay there thinking about what I had to do during the day.
Past participle: But I remembered that I had lain there all morning one day last week.


Lay

Present tense: As I walk past, I lay the tools on the workbench.
Past tense: As I walked past, I laid the tools on the workbench. And: I laid an egg in class when I tried to tell that joke.
Past participle: . . . I had laid the tools on the workbench.


Last edited by Wreybies on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by ebyss on Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:51 am

Fine, I changed it.

Now back to my question. I think I might actually understand.
If something is at rest, then you use lie.

The stones lie on the ground. Because there isn't D.O. after it.

I really hate these verbs. My ms has them, and when I come across them; I have to stop and think, think, think, then I end up going to some site or check my Grammar for Dummies (me) book.

As far as lain, that is just a funny sounding word. Whenever I see it in a sentence, it never sounds right.

Anyway, thanks for the help.

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by Guest on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:01 am

I hate these verbs as well, and believe me, I knew right where to look on the web because I have that page tagged as a favorite in my browser. I can never remember either.

Oh, and I genuinely didn't mean to be pedantic about ran. I just felt that it was perfectly in line with your original questions. There are certain verb forms that we just don't run into on a regular basis, at least not in everyday speech, and it is rather easy to get them wrong. I'm a little more sensitive to these forms because my first language is Spanish. In Spanish there are even more verb forms to choose from depending simple or complex tense, past, present, future, progressive, blah blah blah. Spanish verbs can make you pull your hair out! sarcasm


Last edited by Wreybies on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:18 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by ebyss on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:13 am

LOL!!! Well, I hope you didn't go to that extreme. Laughing

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by Guest on Fri Mar 06, 2009 10:39 am

ebyss wrote:LOL!!! Well, I hope you didn't go to that extreme. Laughing

Oh, it has come close! good grief

The whole lie, lay, lie, lain, laid, etc. broo-ha-ha comes mainly because there are two sets of verbs which look very similar, have some forms that they share, and are both "irregular" verbs. I put the word irregular in quotes, because they are not true irregular verbs, they just follow a pattern different from the vast majority of verbs. This happens when there is more than one source within a language for its verbs. English is famous for having many, many sources for it's words, but English is by no means unique in this phenomenon. All of the major Indo-European languages can make this same claim, especially the trade languages, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, and Italian.

Spanish, a normally clean, crisp, rule-following language goes berzerk when it comes to verbs. The major sources for verbs in Spanish are Latin, Celtic, Basque and much, much later, Arabic. Latin and Celtic were rather close at the time, so those forms are not terribly irregular, one from the other, but Basque is not even an Indo-European language and Arabic held sway for so long, and so recently that both of these language sources made profound changes that never got regularized, never got smoothed out. Ergo, Spanish has crazy verbs.

Ok, I'm done now. Sorry. biggrin


Last edited by Wreybies on Sat Mar 07, 2009 9:23 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by Garmar on Fri Mar 06, 2009 11:43 am

I have these same problems--mostly eradicated now--with lay and lie. I posed this problem over at WF, and got many great answers and help with the problem, but it has since gone off to the great thread shredder in the sky during the great WF ghost debacle of '08.

Great thread guys. I'm sticking this for future members, because I guarantee this will come up again.

Garmar.

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Re: Lie, lay, lain and lay laid

Post by NaClmine on Fri Mar 06, 2009 1:43 pm

Damn Bob Dylan . . . screwed me up for life with his song, Lay Lady Lay! It should have been Lie Lady Lie! LOL
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