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cinders23
02-27-2011, 07:15 PM
I swear I can never find information that helps me understand these words.

Which one is correct.

He lay squirming and mumbling in his sleep.

He laid squirming and mumbling in his sleep.


I originally thought it was "lay", but my editor is saying "laid."

Help? Thanks.

Terie
02-27-2011, 07:20 PM
Go to the main page of the Grammar and Syntax (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=111) forum. Start reading the names of the stickied threads. (Hint: the name of the thread you're looking for is 'The Definitive Lay or Lie Thread (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105210)'. It happens to be the very first one on the list.) :)

cptwentworth
02-27-2011, 07:22 PM
I think you're right. I got this information below from this site: http://web.ku.edu/~edit/lie.html



The principal parts (most-common verb forms) of lie are:

lie (present,) lay (past) and lain (past participle).
The principal parts of lay are:
lay (present), laid (past) and laid (past participle).
As an aid in choosing the correct verb forms, remember that lie means to recline, whereas lay means to place something, to put something on something. • Lie means that the actor (subject) is doing something to himself or herself. It's what grammarians call a complete verb. When accompanied by subjects, complete verbs tell the whole story.
• Lay, on the other hand, means that the subject is acting on something or someone else; therefore, it requires a complement to make sense. Thus lay always takes a direct object. Lie never does.

cinders23
02-27-2011, 07:24 PM
Terie.....Ohhhh, thanks for that. I'm bookmarking that one!

Why does his word have to be so difficult. Now I'm pretty sure if you write.

He had laid down.

Laid is correct when had is first.

Terie
02-27-2011, 07:30 PM
Why does this word have to be so difficult. Now I'm pretty sure if you write.

In a nutshell, it's because the past-tense of one is identical in spelling and pronounciation to the present tense of the other. (That is, lay.)

It's definitely one of the more common challenges in the English language (hence getting its own stickied thread), but English is such a flexible and acquisitive language that there's always something new to wonder about.

Ain't language grand?!

cinders23
02-27-2011, 07:35 PM
On the lay or laid thread I found this....

Simple past tense: lay. The seeds lay dormant all winter. We lay in bed that night, not speaking. No, you lay in the hammock, remember?

Now this makes me believe that "Lay" is correct for this sentence.

He lay squirming and mumbling in his sleep.

Not Laid.

Am I right? I just need someone to give me the answer. :D

Lost World
02-27-2011, 07:57 PM
I swear I can never find information that helps me understand these words.

Which one is correct.

He lay squirming and mumbling in his sleep.

He laid squirming and mumbling in his sleep.


I originally thought it was "lay", but my editor is saying "laid."

Help? Thanks.

My favorite solution to lay/lie/laid etc. is to just not use it. EG: He squirmed and mumbled in his sleep. That he lays or lies there is a given...unless he's sleeping on his feet like a horse.

In other contexts, it is so much easier to place something than lay it. Lazy writing? Perhaps...but if you think about it, lay is a pretty lame word anyhow.

cinders23
02-27-2011, 08:09 PM
My favorite solution to lay/lie/laid etc. is to just not use it

Yep, this is easier than dealing with it. Shortly before your post this is exactly what I did.

blacbird
02-28-2011, 01:34 AM
I swear I can never find information that helps me understand these words.

Which one is correct.

He lay squirming and mumbling in his sleep.

He laid squirming and mumbling in his sleep.


I originally thought it was "lay", but my editor is saying "laid."

Help? Thanks.

This one is pretty simple: You are correct, and your editor is wrong.

As noted above, refer to long-standing "lie or lay" thread at the top of the forum.

maestrowork
03-02-2011, 01:55 AM
"Laid" is wrong. That's the past tense of "lay" -- unless the guy is laying eggs or laying something/someone, "laid" is not right.

"Lay" is the past tense of "lie" and that's what you should use here.

Bing Z
03-02-2011, 02:44 AM
Terie.....Ohhhh, thanks for that. I'm bookmarking that one!

Why does his word have to be so difficult. Now I'm pretty sure if you write.

He had laid down.

Laid is correct when had is first.


I use the "Getting laid" analogy when I'm unsure. That is,

lay (present), laid (past) and laid (past participle)

requires partner(s) or item(s).

Jamesaritchie
03-02-2011, 03:26 AM
Lay is the past tense of lie, but laid is the simple past tense of lay.

Lil
03-02-2011, 05:25 AM
Lay is the past tense of lie, but laid is the simple past tense of lay.
JAR is correct. Your editor is wrong. (I was tempted to be less polite.)

eqb
03-02-2011, 04:28 PM
Perhaps you should point your editor to the Lie vs. Lay thread. :D

maestrowork
03-02-2011, 08:09 PM
OR point the editor to a dictionary.

Dr.Gonzo
03-02-2011, 08:46 PM
Or to the dole queue.

Sarah Madara
03-02-2011, 09:02 PM
Terie.....Ohhhh, thanks for that. I'm bookmarking that one!

Why does his word have to be so difficult. Now I'm pretty sure if you write.

He had laid down.

Laid is correct when had is first.

He had laid a dozen eggs. He was a miracle of science.

He had lain on the couch for hours. He was a lazy miracle of science.

Maryn
03-02-2011, 09:04 PM
Or send the editor to my house, where I will serve coffee and baked goods and explain it in simple terms, because I wrote the Definitive Lay or Lie thread. It's simply not. That. Hard. Any editor who doesn't know the difference and is unaware of his or her weakness is, IMO, not qualified to edit fiction.

There, I said it!

And come on, people, avoiding use of the word is not the answer. Learn it, or look it up. Seriously, it's pretty simple, and the thread is there if you need to refer back to it. Or you can PM me or any of a number of other people with your exact sentence and ask which, and not only will we tell you which word you want, but explain why.

Maryn, who never lies and is always right*

*Lie courtesy of Firesign Theater

maestrowork
03-02-2011, 09:05 PM
He had lain on the couch and laid a few eggs.

Jamesaritchie
03-02-2011, 09:05 PM
OR point the editor to a dictionary.

I think the editor just needs to be told that laid is the past tense of lay, and happens to something else.

maestrowork
03-02-2011, 09:06 PM
Any editor who doesn't know the difference and is unaware of his or her weakness is, IMO, not qualified to edit fiction.


And I'll say it again. Hey, English isn't even my first language and I know the difference. It is. Not. That. Hard. And if the editor doesn't know, the dictionary is right there.

Jamesaritchie
03-02-2011, 11:02 PM
The editor was wrong, but I suspect he won't stay wrong much longer. Using "laid" in this way is getting so common, even in published fiction, that I'm pretty sure it wont be long before it is right. Language changes, usage changes, and when enough people start doing the same thing in print, the change happens.

It drives us crazy, but another generation or so down the road, not using "laid" in this manner would probably seem silly.

blacbird
03-02-2011, 11:36 PM
Then, of course, there's the lay that is a noun referring to a Medieval story-song, and the lay that is an adjective referring to a non-ordained church helper.

Chase
03-02-2011, 11:42 PM
It drives us crazy, but another generation or so down the road, not using "laid" in this manner would probably seem silly.

Too true. I never thought in my lifetime something as wrong-sounding and mathematically incompetent as "a person should do as they please" would be accepted by otherwise intelligent writers.

So no lie, there lays our future. One is screwed, isn't they?

maestrowork
03-03-2011, 12:26 AM
In teh future peeps will rite like dis cuz datz how they do n0w. ZOMG!

Jamesaritchie
03-03-2011, 03:46 AM
In teh future peeps will rite like dis cuz datz how they do n0w. ZOMG!

Have you seen the lobbying efforts to teach text message writing in school?

maestrowork
03-03-2011, 06:26 AM
Have you seen the lobbying efforts to teach text message writing in school?

OMFG o.O

heza
03-03-2011, 07:17 AM
My sister was cooking something the other night and was dismayed that the baking instructions used "b4" for "before." And it was regular food... nothing trendy or hip.

blacbird
03-03-2011, 08:38 AM
The editor was wrong, but I suspect he won't stay wrong much longer. Using "laid" in this way is getting so common, even in published fiction, that I'm pretty sure it wont be long before it is right. Language changes, usage changes, and when enough people start doing the same thing in print, the change happens.

It drives us crazy, but another generation or so down the road, not using "laid" in this manner would probably seem silly.

You lie.

Lil
03-03-2011, 07:34 PM
Too true. I never thought in my lifetime something as wrong-sounding and mathematically incompetent as "a person should do as they please" would be accepted by otherwise intelligent writers.

It drives me crazy every time I see it. But then I never claimed to be sane.