Posted by: Jack Henry | June 7, 2012

Editor’s Corner: Time to lie down or lay an egg

In place of a quiz today, we’re going to go over something that is tough for many people, including yours truly. I am hoping that sharing this information might help all of you who’ve asked about “lie” and “lay,” and maybe sear it into my brain while I type it. This is the “lay vs. lie chart” and a ton of examples from The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, by the late Jane Straus.

lay vs. lie chart

Present Past Participle
(A Form of Have)
To recline lie, lying lay has/have/had lain
To put or place (verb followed by an object) lay, laying laid has/have/had laid
Tell a falsehood lie, lying lied has/have/had lied

Examples in the Present Tense:

I lie down for a nap at 2:00 P.M. everyday.

I am lying down for a nap today.

The hens lay eggs.

The hen is laying eggs.

I am tempted to lie about my age.

I am not lying about my age.

Examples in the Past Tense:

I lay down for a nap yesterday at 2:00 P.M.

The hen laid two eggs yesterday.

He lied on the witness stand.

Examples with a Participle (has, have):

I have lain down for a nap every day this week.

The hen has laid two eggs every day this week.

He has lied each day on the witness stand.

For additional information and more examples, see the Purdue OWL ( and read “The Owl’s Nest” article.

Kara Church | Senior Technical Editor

Symitar, A Jack Henry Company

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123


  1. […] readers ask about the words lay and lie. Kara has written about this topic three times before, so it’s my turn to try to lay this question to […]

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