Yes, the truth lies in the facts.
But when it comes to the fact as to whether to use ‘Lie’ or ‘Lay’ in our English sentences, we seem to go by our gut instinct. We say it quickly hoping that our hesitation goes unnoticed. But what if we need it in written form? How can we have our sentences communicated clearly if we hesitate with the words we are using?
Let’s put the mystery of ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay’ behind us with this blog post.
As both words ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay’ assume the flat position, there is a small nuance where ‘Lay’ means to put something down. In this case, “It’s time to lie the facts down.” is WRONG. Not only is it wrong, it could also mean that the person wants to shun facts with lies. So the right way to say it is, “It’s time to lay down the facts.”
It is easy to differentiate ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay’ when we know that we need to put something down. So what about when we are referring to our own selves, while we’re sleeping for instance – are we lying down or laying down, then?
See below for examples to differentiate between ‘lying down’ and ‘laying down’:
- I was lying down when the baby started crying.
- I was laying down when the baby started crying.
Example 1 means that you have been lying down for quite some time before the baby started crying.
Example 2 means that you are about to lie down when the baby started crying. In this sentence, it can be implied that you are tired and haven’t rested.
The small spelling difference between ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay’ has a huge difference when you are communicating a situation or seeking for understanding from the other party. Using ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay’ correctly gives clarity to your needs and can avoid unnecessary miscommunication.
Let’s see another set of example to differentiate ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay’:
- He lies down with a book.
- He lays down the book.
Example 1 means that he is lying down and reading a book.
Example 2 means that he puts the book down and stopped reading.
Although the preposition ‘with’ plays a role in explaining the situation in Example 1, the difference between the two examples show that ‘Lie’ and ‘Lay carry different meanings.
Well I hope this blog post has cleared your doubt whenever you need to use ‘Lie’ or ‘Lay’. Now I would love to hear from you. Let me know if you have questions on the usage of ‘Lie’ or ‘Lay’ by leaving a comment below or by replying to my email if you are an email subscriber to The Baini Mustafa Newsletter.
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This Post Has 2 Comments
Thanks Baini. A great sharing.
I was lying down when I read this blog.
I lay down the phone on the table after I read the blog.
My baby lies down with her toys
Those are great examples!