How do I know when to use lay or lie?

Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Many people use them interchangeably and perhaps some day that will be the norm. As far as English grammar books are concerned:

Lay means "to place something down." It is something you do to something else. It is a transitive verb.

Incorrect: Lie the book on the table.

Correct: Lay the book on the table.
(It is being done to something else.)

Lie means "to recline" or "be placed." It does not act on anything or anyone else. It is an intransitive verb.

Incorrect: Lay down on the couch.

Correct: Lie down on the couch.
(It is not being done to anything else.)

The reason lay and lie are confusing is their past tenses.

The past tense of lay is laid.

The past tense of lie is lay.

  1. 👍 0
  2. 👎 0
  3. 👁 129
asked by carol

Respond to this Question

First Name

Your Response

Similar Questions

  1. English

    16. I told the child to _____ down for a nap. When he finally fell asleep I ___ down for a nap of my own. Which of the following options correctly completes the sentence above. A. lay,lay B. lay,lie C. lie, lie D. lie, lay i think

    asked by AMGCSTRNBSN on March 17, 2016
  2. English.

    i told the child to.....down for a nap. when he finally fell asleep I....down for a nap of my own. Which of the following options correctly completes the sentence above. A.lay,lay B.lay,lie C.lie, lie D.lie, lay My answer is D.

    asked by Tessy on January 22, 2016
  3. English

    I told the child__down for nap, when he fall asleep, o __down for nap of my own. lay.lay lie.lay lie,lie lay.lie what is best option.

    asked by madad on December 5, 2011
  4. English

    Which sentence uses lie or lay correctly? (1 point) Please lay your pencil on top of your notebook.

    asked by Anonymous on June 5, 2014
  5. English

    Another lay/laid asleep during the day and worked at night. I think lay because it does not have a direct object Would you like to lie/lay on a scaffold along the Sears Tower and watch the stars. I think lie because it does not

    asked by kelley on November 17, 2015
  6. English ASAP Please

    Which one of the following sentences is grammatically correct? A. I really need to lay down. B. Sit it down over there by the window. C. I thought it would be best if I were to rise the curtain. D. The men came today to lay the

    asked by Danielle on June 23, 2006
  7. gr8language

    Write four sentances with a different form of lie, then write four sentances with a different form of lay. 1.a) I would never lie to my friends. b)THe baby is lying in her crib. c)I have lain to my parents. d) (lay) 2.a) I like to

    asked by rebecca on May 12, 2009
  8. Grammar

    Rewrite each of these sentences, correcting any errors in subject-verb agreement. If the subject and verb, write Correct. 1. No one of Columbus' sailors are in good health. A: Correct? 2. Neither success nor victory comfort the

    asked by Victoria on September 24, 2014
  9. english

    which one is right?? When watching a film with my wife, she sometimes will lie her head down on my leg. lie or lay tnxx

    asked by jfk on February 10, 2017
  10. English

    Which word goes in the blank. The patient must lie/lay perfectly still during the X-ray. Is it lie since there is no object?

    asked by Kelley on November 11, 2012

More Similar Questions