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January 27, 2011

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Karen

Mimi is too dear! I am always amused when my dogs turn their noses up at the fancy toys I buy them and then play with a box all night.

When the went to Catholic school a long long time ago, the nuns were very big on lay and lie. The way I remember it is that lay always has an object (lay a plate down) and lie never does (I want to lie down.) The hint they gave us to remember is to try saying "put" in place of "lay" or "lie" in the sentence. If it makes sense, (put a plate down), then lay is the correct down. "I want to put down" doesn't make sense, so lie is the right word. Unless I completely got the rule mixed up. I'm old now and I forget so many things!

CP

Even native speakers regularly have trouble with lie vs. lay. I had to look it up on google because I am not really sure I understand the distinction. This explanation (for native speakers!) seems very helpful
http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/lay-versus-lie.aspx

Jo

Too cute.. ;o)
Jo xx

Jo

Btw.. hubby says, 'I lie down.. you lay an egg'
ie.. to lie is an action, whilst to lay is a verb requiring an object.
But since he's Canadian and not English like my good self, I'm not vouching for him on this one. ;o)
xx

Rattling On

Benita, the lay/lie thing doesn't happen in Britain really. It seems to be an American mix-up. Remember that lay is also the past tense of lie (I lay on the bed yesterday and now I am going to lie down again)! The other tips are all great as well.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Thank you, that's a great trick!

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

I know, that's what makes it even more confusing to me... :)

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

Thank you, I will study that!

Ness at Drovers Run

Lie. Present tense. Either to lie down, or to tell a lie.
Lay. Past tense. "I lay on the floor"

Keep it simple!

Sheri

Lie, lay, lain... present, past, and past participle of "To recline." That's how I've remembered it since I was 15. There is no other form of lie other than to be dishonest.

Robyn

Love Mini's "daft turn"!

Even though English isn't your first language, you are doing excellently! Besides, it is apparently the hardest language to learn if it's not your home tongue.

I don't even think a lot of English speaking people can speak their own language properly.

Judith

Oh, what a cute little Mini! For cats there's just something so fun about being in a place that wasn't originally designed for them :)

You've already gotten good advice on the lay/lie issue so I'll just add that you speak better English than SO many native English speakers!

Siv Jane Aksdal

Ahhh my brain hurts I think I need to lie down... I always failed miserably at grammar I think I will stay out of this discussion!!

Sara

My Mom always said: People lie, things lay. And food is done... Everything else is finished. :)

Lisen

Ååhh, she's ridiculously adorable. When I scrolled down the first photo, and those huuuge eyes looked up at me, my heart melted.

I'm always confused with the lie/ lay too, to me it sounds wrong to say "I lay in bed" for past tense. And it messes up the whole object vs no object rule, because in past tense lay is indeed an action.
I think I'm gonna write down both versions on post it, and repeat them for a week- then it should stick.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

That's a good and easy one!

Juliette R.

I was just about to post this link myself! I love Grammar Girl links! I often her explanations with my private coaching/tutoring clients.

VintagePleasure

The whole lay/lie thing can also depend on where in the UK you come from too so even more confusing! My friend will say that she went for a lay down but I would say lie down!
I would agree that lie is present and future tense and lay would be past tense as is 'I lay in bed until 10am' or 'I will lie in bed until 10am tomorrow' . You would however ask someone to 'lay the table' and chickens definitely lay eggs. You might say 'Who laid the table?' but it asking the person who did would say 'Did you lay the table' !!! Incredible confusing ;)
Don't worry about your English I never even notice that it's not your first language!
In this post I think lays or lies would be acceptable.

tinajo

Haha, min katt kan man också hitta i tvättkorgen ganska ofta - förnöjd som värsta prinsessan på ärten. :-) Tyvär innebär ju det också en himla massa päls på tvätten periodvis, men sådant får man ta helt enkelt. :-)

tammy

Don't worry about the lie/lay too much. You speak (type) better English then most of us Americans anyway! (present company included! ;) )

Christine

Benita, do you know any German? Basically lie is "liegen" (ligga?) and lay "legen" (lägga?) Except when it comes to the act of "lying down", which sort of defies the logic...

jja

Love this photos! :-))) My Meli also loves boxes, every box is new adventure and worth of jumping inside with the head first LOL. It seeems to be some girlish thing ;-)

matchbookhymnal

Benita, mixing up "lie" and "lay" is the best way to "pass" for a native English speaker! If your English is too good, people will get suspicious. :)

Masha

Mini is amazing! :) Our Felix likes to lie our travel bag. My husband didn't see him once, and put the bag in the wardrobe. We spent 1 hour looking for him until we heard the long and loud "Meow"-s.

Benita ~ Chez Larsson

I do speak German and that does make sense! The lying down bit still confuses me... :)

Katie

Mini is so cute! My cat loves the laundry basket as well, along with paper grocery bags and any box. If there is a box on the floor, Oliver can be found inside of it!

lisa h.

Mini is such a little angel.

If she has trouble getting into the basket by herself, you can always pick her up and lay her in it. ;)

Amy

Americans would often say "I laid on the bed yesterday." I'm not sure if it is correct grammer but it is what you would often hear.

Juliene

Here is an easy trick!:
Lie as in recline (person) - I'm going to lie down.
Lay as in place (object) - Lay the blanket on the bed.

morag

Another one if you can stand it:

"It's" always and only means "it is": It's cold today. (It is cold today.)

So you don't use it as an adjective or possessive pronoun. That's "its": the cat licked its paw.

MANY people get this one wrong here in U.S. Especially in blogland!

Rebecca Mellor

I was going to comment on how I remember the difference between lay and lie, but the folk above seem to have got it sorted! Well done for having an empty laundry basket! And, your cat is very very cute!

Lise

Benita -

Looks like you've already heard from a ton of grammarians! I thought I'd add my 2 cents - from a Norwegian perspective! I do know that Swedish is different from Norwegian,however, I've found that, although I don't know Swedish,I can understand it pretty well. The difference between English lie and lay is the difference between Norwegian ligge and legge. You lie down to take a nap; you lay your baby down in the crib for a nap. . . What makes it confusing is the past tense of "to lie" is "lay." The past tense of "to lay" is "laid." So,the word "lay" has a different meaning depending on how you use it. English is hard - too many exceptions to the rule. You, girl, are fabulous at the language. Love your blog. Kitty is darling.

Peggy

Hey you know what, Benita? I don't care!

Yes, I used to care. The nuns do that to you. But now I don't. It doesn't have to be perfect. I know what you mean. So don't hold back when you write. You're way ahead of me -- I can't even imagine being fluent in more than one language.

Megan

I always remember it this way - you lay down an object - you lie down yourself (it has an I in it). So if something is lying down under it's own power, you should use I (because I did it myself).

Candy

Lie and Lay (or whatever), we do too! Do let the little stuff get you caught up. Of course, this from an American :-)

Candy

oops!!! Don't not Do....See what I mean.

nan

I too went to Catholic school and the nuns taught us that "objects lay down but people, dogs, horses etc. lie down". But please don't worry about it, most people would never catch on to what is right or wrong. Your English is AMAZING!!!

Nan

www.CuratorsOfLifestyle.com

Elise

I've never heard to 'lay the table', I've always heard 'set the table' Interesting!

Noga

Mini is like a little woman. She knows what she wants and knows how to get it and still be loved... I think it's such a great idea to take English lessons! I have so meny difficulties to write in English I must copy your idea and get some English lessons myself. I need it much more than you..
As always, I find your blog very useful!

enannanhelena

Benita, idag upptog din sida (nästan) hela min surftid... Tänk att man skulle få sig en engelskalektion till livs härinne, jag var bara tvungen att läsa igenom ALLA kommentarerna, för att inte missa något av de fiffiga tipsen ang lay/lie-problematiken. Annars håller jag med dem som kommenterat det här med språkkunskaperna hos vissa "inhemska", jag jobbade under många år på ett engelskt företag, i Sverige. Vi hade daglig kontakt med kontor och fabrik, som låg i England, många av kollegorna där borta var t ex inte alls noggranna med det här att böja verben korrekt. (De skrev ofta "breaked" istället för "broke", bara för att ta ett exempel.) Något vi här hemma fick traggla mycket i skolan, åtminsone på min tid :).
Trevlig helg!
/helena

ps.Tänk att de gillar små skrymslen så mycket, de små liven :). Det gör min katt också, så klart!

Christina

My husband says this to me too! (and he's American and an English major). Actually, he says a goose lays an egg; you lay a book on a table; but if you're tired, you lie down.

But I learned something from the other comments -- Next time I make the mistake of saying "I'm going to go lay down" and he corrects, me, I'm going to tell him he's a goose and I'm speaking British English :)

mona idriss

Hi Benita,

Here it is courtesy of http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/lay-versus-lie.aspx:

How to Conjugate Lay and Lie
Here's how to conjugate these two verbs:

The past tense of lie is lay, so

Last week, Steve lay down on the floor.
The cat lay in the mud after it rained yesterday.

The past tense of lay is laid, so

Last week, I laid the TPS report on your desk.
Mary forcefully laid her ring on the table.

The past participle of lie is lain, so

Steve has lain on the floor for days.
The cat has lain in the mud for hours.

The past participle of lay is laid, so

I have laid the TPS report on your desk.
Mary has forcefully laid her ring on the table.

I am from Toronto Canada and we usually use both words in the wrong context. The great thing about Toronto is that we have so many cultures and different languages - incorrect grammar is frequent, but no one seems to mind!

I am a huge fan of your blog. Tonight is Friday night and I am painting the inside of my medicine cabinet - white! Thank you for all the inspiration

Jillian Buechi

Benita,

Your English is amazing you put the rest of us who only speak one language to shame!
Jillian(Canada)

Kathi

As an english speaker and writer I would like to publicly apologize for all the weirdness of English. There is an exception to every rule and nothing hold true to all situations. It is one of the most confusing and hard languages on earth. There enough said. I'm sorry.

chrisbean

It wasn't until I learned GERMAN that I could keep lie/lay straight. If Swedish is similarly conjugated, or if you know some German, it's SUPER-EASY:

Lay is TRANSITIVE.
Lie is INTRANSITIVE.

That's the difference.

Granite Dining Tables

I'm confused. But anyway the kitty in the basket case is very cute. Very huggable!

Kristi

My son the Writing major helped me out here (when I asked him): "Remember it this way, Mom; only people lie!" It's ridiculous, but helps me remember to only use 'lie' with a person, in the present tense.

~Michelle

I'm an American, I have a Masters degree, I work in academia.

I have no freakin' clue. I get them wrong ALL the time! :-)

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