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Prawn
03-25-2007, 02:31 AM
Accident scene, bodies on the ground:



“And the dead?” Hartley asked. She knew the answer but asked because the young men had not.
“They stay where they lay. Other officers will be arriving soon. Send them to me.”

would you use lie or lay here?

Silver King
03-25-2007, 02:47 AM
“They stay where they lay. Other officers will be arriving soon. Send them to me.”

would you use lie or lay here?
If they're telling the truth, don't use lie; I'd stick with lay (past tense).

Some folks may suggest that, since the reference appears in dialogue, you can use whatever you want.

AnnieColleen
03-25-2007, 02:55 AM
Since the dialogue is referring to something in the present (for the speaker), use the present tense. They lie there now. They lay there a few minutes ago. Use 'lie'.

(If it were my sentence, I'd probably rephrase altogether -- "They stay where they are" or "Don't move them" or whatever fits the scene. The sentence doesn't really read smoothly to me with either 'lay' or 'lie'. But that's beside the point. :))

Silver King
03-25-2007, 03:03 AM
Since the dialogue is referring to something in the present (for the speaker), use the present tense. They lie there now. They lay there a few minutes ago. Use 'lie'.
Good point. I read the sentence differently. Also, your idea of, "They stay where they are," sounds better, too.

absitinvidia
03-25-2007, 11:36 PM
This might be one of those cases where trying to make the dialogue sound real trumps proper grammar. I've heard "stay where/as they lay" a number of times, and I think if you changed it to "stay where/as they lie" it would sound like a hypercorrection of a common phrase (even though it's a legitimate correction). So I'd say either leave as is or rewrite the sentence.