Posted by: Jack Henry | March 15, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Lie versus Lay

Today’s list of frequently confused and misspelled words includes lie and lay. I separated these two troublemakers from the other “L” words because they deserve special attention. The following chart is from the Purdue OWL, with examples from the website below.

LIE versus LAY

Lie vs. Lay Usage
Present Past Past Participle
lie, lying (to tell a falsehood) I lied to my mother. I have lied under oath.
lie, lying (to recline) I lay on the bed because I was tired. He has lain in the grass.
lay, laying (to put, place) I laid the baby in her cradle. We have laid the dishes on the table.

Examples in the Present Tense:

I am tempted to lie about my age.
I am not lying about my age.

I like to lie down for a nap at 2:00 p.m.
I am lying down for a nap today.
The hens lay eggs.
The hen is laying eggs.

Examples in the Past Tense:

He lied on the witness stand.

I lay down for a nap yesterday at 2:00 p.m.
The hen laid two eggs yesterday.

Examples with a Participle (has, have):

He has lied each day on the witness stand.

I have lain down for a nap every day this week.
The hen has laid two eggs every day this week.

Have a great weekend!

Kara Church

Senior Technical Editor


  1. […] […]

  2. […] 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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