Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Laid versus Lied

I have a degree in English, but I still find that I need a grammar refresher course from time to time; that is, I'm not really as bad as my blog might suggest. There are just basic rules of English that I have forgotten over the years. Most recently, I couldn’t remember when to use “laid” and when to use “lied.” You remember my post on the canoeing trip. Remember that Scout Friend K “lied” down in the canoe? Apparently, I got it wrong (and Grand Matriarch didn't point it out to me - why?)

I am wondering if you ever forget these simple rules of grammar, hence today’s blog is a grammar lesson titled, “laid vs. lied.”

For the most part, the rules are complicated keeping in mind intransitive verbs and direct objects and other complicated such terms. There are some basic rules.

In the present tense
Lie is something you do to yourself.
Lay is something that you do to something or someone else.

Lie down and take a nap.
Lay the baby down on the changing table.

This gets a bit more complicated in the past tense.

The past tense of 'lie' is 'lay' and the past tense of 'lay' is 'laid'. Gulp.

Thus, Scout Friend lay down in the canoe.
I laid down the camera before I fell in the water.

The nightmare continues when using a past participle (have/has).

Bro has lain in his crib for 2 hours now.
I laid the file on your desk for review.

Unfortunately there isn’t an easy way to remember these differences, as far as I can tell. For now, commit these conjugations to memory or print this out and put it next to your computer.

Lie/lay/have or has lain.
Lay/laid/have or has laid.

You might not remember these right away and you still may have to look them up from time to time. I know that looking up these rules helps me to be a better writer. My apologies to Grand Matriarch for the mistake - I am trying to be better.

Do you have another grammar rule that stumps you? What is it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Because the canoe trip got by me.. somehow I missed it!
I have let you slide on some typos that I have seen this morning.. hahaha!!!!
And I do avoid the lie/lay thing because it really is confusing.
I hate the bring/take thing.. You bring things to you and take things away from you to somewhere.. and it is misused soooo much!!!