Nov 18, 2014

Pet peeves of a grammar nerd: Lie/Lay

Ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) 

Hello, fellow grammar nerds!

Today, thought we'd talk about Mr Down, because apparently, a lot of people want to lay him.

No, wait, hear me out!

This is how I make sure I remember how to correctly use the verbs Lie and Lay, respectively.

Here is the deal:

Lie - Lay - Lain - Lying (as in: I lie on the couch now, I lay on the couch yesterday, I have lain on the couch for a week, I am lying on the couch)
Lay - Laid - Laid - Laying (as in: I lay the book on the couch now, I laid the book on the couch yesterday, I have laid the book on the couch every day, I am laying the book on the couch)

They are two different words. They mean different things. They act in different ways. They are not interchangeable. One doesn't need an object (the first one), and one absolutely needs an object (the second - the book).

So where does Mr Brown come into this whole mess? Well, when you write "I am going to lay down," it is wrong. Because it makes the word "down" into an object to be laid. What you wanted to say was, "I am going to lie down."

Let's turn down into Mr. Down, to see the error: when writing a sentence with lie/lay, use Mr Down. If it looks like you're having sex, you're using the wrong verb. 

So, every time I see someone writing "I'm going to lay down," I quickly ask myself:

"Who is this Down that everybody wants to lay? And can I have his number?"

The correct way to say it is: "I am going to lie down."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

How about you? Tell me about your pet peeve in the grammar jungle?! 

No comments:

Post a Comment