Posted by: Jack Henry | February 18, 2016

Editor’s Corner: Lay Versus Lie

Lay and lie are frequently confused words. In present tense, lay means to put or set something down (and it requires a direct object). For example:

· Every morning I lay the student manuals on the desks before class starts.

Lie means to be, to stay, or to assume rest in a horizontal position; it does not require a direct object. For example:

· Every afternoon I lie on the hammock.

Things get tricky with past tense because lay is the past tense of lie.

· Examples in past tense:

o When I taught the class, I laid out the manuals before class started.

o I lay on the hammock after class.

· Examples with a participle (has, have):

o I have laid the student manuals on the desks.

o I have lain on the hammock every day this week.

Don’t worry if you are still a little confused. Here’s a chart from the Purdue Owl to help you remember.

Jackie Solano | Technical Editor | Symitar®

8985 Balboa Ave. | San Diego, CA 92123 | Ph. 619.542.6711 | Extension: 766711

Symitar Documentation Services

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