Posts Tagged ‘sarcasm’

All right, folks, here I am with slightly red face, realizing why I hadn’t published yesterday’s post earlier:  it was not finished. As my dear friend, Deb, gently reminded me, there is more to the “lie / lay” issue, and this is probably the cause of much confusion.

The verb “lie” may mean (a) to fib (b) to recline. In the case of the fib, it’s She lies—she lied—she has lied. In the case of reclining: She lies—she lay—she has lain. Note that the past tense of “lie” in terms of reclining is “lay.” It’s kosher to use the word “lay” without an object if it’s being used in the past tense. For example, if  I lie in bed all day today, I will talk about it in the past tense tomorrow:  Yesterday I lay in bed all day. And that will be okay—not the lying in bed all day but the use of the verb.

The verb “lay” means to place:  She lays (something)—she laid (something)—she has laid (something). This is the verb that is followed by an object.

I hope that’s all clear as mud. I’m leaving now so you can double-check with Strunk and White’s Elements of Style or Woe is I or Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

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Now I Lay Me Down…

It’s been awhile since I managed to post something on my blog, so I’ll send out this little piece on a whim:

Allow me to vent a grammarphobe’s pet peeve. Let me lay it down before you.

Not only print media but also radio and television announcers and reporters regularly misuse the verb “lay.” Everyday speech is full of it.

“I just want to lay down,” says a friend, and I bite my tongue and try to keep myself from asking what she is going to lay down.

“I’m so tired I could lay here all day.” What will you be laying and will you not become weary with all your laying?

“They found her laying in a ditch full of muddy water.” Bad enough they should find her there, but what was she laying?

The verb “lay” must always have an object. For example, “My chickens lay EGGS every day.”

If you’re tired, then by all means “lie” down, but do not attempt to lay. We’re just not made for it.

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