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  1. Word Dancer

    Word Dancer Member

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    Lie (down)

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Word Dancer, May 10, 2012.

    Forgive me if this has been posted before but is the past tense of lie, as in lie down, lay?

    It doesn't sound right.
    Jeff took off his shoes and lay down on his bed.
    Is that right? And if not, what is?
     
  2. ArnaudB

    ArnaudB Member

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    Past tense of "to lay" is "laid". (Wordreference.com)
    Lay is past tense for "to lie" in both meaning, which as a Frenchman I find rather confusing.

    I'd go with : "Jeff took off his shoes and laid down on his bed."
     
  3. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sorry, but that's not correct... it should be, 'he lay down on his bed'...

    'laid' [past tense of 'lay'] would only be correct if he 'laid' something or someone down on the bed... as in, 'he laid the book on the bed'... [or, if you'll pardon the risque nature of yet another meaning of the word, 'the lady was laid on the bed, where she then got laid' ;) ]

    a person 'will lie' or 'lies' down on a bed to rest, or go to sleep...

    or he 'lays' something down on a bed instead of dropping it on the floor...

    that the verb/noun 'lie' also means an untruth, only complicates things even further... which is only one of many reasons why english is the most erratic, confused/confusing language in the world... :rolleyes:

    consider, for example, the following sentence:

    all of this could have been learned much more quickly/easily if you simply googled 'lay vs lie'...
     
  4. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, Arnaud, but that is not correct.

    To lay is a transitive verb. You lay an object (prepositional phrase indicating where)
    To lie in an intransitive verb meaning to recline (usually on a surface). The past tense of lie is lay.

    Word Dancer, your sentence is correct:
    EDIT: And Maia beat me to it this time. :)

    Additionally, the past participal of lie is lain, which gives us:

    Jeff had lain on the bed for hours, yet could not sleep.
    Jeff has lain on more comfortable beds.
     
  5. Word Dancer

    Word Dancer Member

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    I knew the lay (put something down) verses lie (recline) but the ones I've checked weren't clear on tense.
     
  6. Word Dancer

    Word Dancer Member

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    Thanks for the responses everyone they helped a lot. One more question. Is down expected in those circumstances after lay? Or is lay on the bed, couch etc. acceptable?
     
  7. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it's not always needed... it would be used if you're describing the act of lying down, as in 'he lay down on the bed, after taking off his shoes'...

    vs him being there already, as in, 'he lay on the bed, shoeless and fast asleep'...
     
  8. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I just checked three different dictionaries, and all were quite clear on the past tense of lie, where the meaning is to be in a horizontal position.
    The preposition is not necessary, but often used to clarify between placing oneself in repose vs being in repose.
     
  9. Word Dancer

    Word Dancer Member

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    Thank you. That's what I was going to ask next.
     

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