One of the many sloppy usages that drive me slowly crazy is the confusion some people have between the words “lie” and “lay.” It may have started in a problem with accents or speed, but it’s an easy problem to beat.
Here are some reminders of the rules:
You are lying in bed or on the couch, but someone comes in — if you’re lucky — and lays a snack on the table beside you.
The dog in the picture is lying on the floor, but I laid that picture into the software in the proper place. The dog is not laying on the floor — it’s not a chicken.
Lie, lying and its other forms are for talking or writing about what’s directly being done by a person or thing. (Yes, you lay something on the table and let it lie.)
Laying — bonus point to me, I got the Y in there! — and other forms of lay are for talking or writing about what happens to something.
You lie like a dog or a rug,
but you lay like a chicken.
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