This blog is about the story of my family here in America. We arrived in the 1630s as Puritans, and became the common folk of the New World.

Using the words lay and lie correctly

The English language is a funny thing. It changes based on how people use it. Dictionaries and grammar books in the English language do not dictate the language, they record how it is presently used. And one of the most confusing verbs in the English language is to lie or to lay. And this is how it used correctly in modern English -

First of all, to get it out of the way, is the verb to lie, as in not telling the truth. We are going to ignore that, unless you think that I am lying about what I am saying here!

All verbs have a present tense, a past tense, and preterite tense. The present tense means right now, past the past means in the past, and the preterite means something that is done regularly.

So, for the verb to lie, as in reclining your body, the present tense is lie as in

I am think that I will lie down now.

Where it gets tricky is in the past tense. You don't say *yesterday I lied down*, you say, *yesterday I lay down*. Stay with me on this.

The preterite is to say, *I always lie around the house*.

For the verb to lay, as in taking something, which can include yourself (if you refer to yourself in the third person), and placing it somewhere, the present tense is lay as in

See how I lay out my clothes for the morning. Note that you are doing something to something else, in this instance clothes. The past tense would be

I laid out my clothes yesterday. Note that you are doing something to something else. This is where the, uh, sexual connotation comes in. Sorry, didn't mean to embarrass you, but I know that's what you were thinking!

So if you say *today is a good day to lay around the house*, when you meant to say, *today is a good day to lie around the house*, it's, well, a little embarrassing.

I hope that this helps.
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