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“People lie, Rena,” my friend and co-worker Marilyn once told me.

“People lie. Chickens lay.”

Marilyn was helping me sort through the confusion of lie and lay. Bob Dylan had it wrong when he sang “Lay, lady, lay.” Should have been lie. I like to lay in the sun, is incorrect. I LOVE to lie in the sun!

Lay is an action word and needs an object. You must lay something down or lay it on the line.

Lie is a state of reclining — think relaxing — you lie down in a horizontal position.

The past tense of lie is lay, which is when it becomes confusing, unless you remember that the past tense of lay is laid.

My husband is out of town this week. I lie in bed alone. No lay or laid for me!


One response »

  1. I always have trouble with this one. Thank God for Google and Grammar Girl. You can’t be reminded too much. We get lazy with our writing and don’t take the time to look it up.


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