The Strange Working Of The English Language Part Seven

Here is part seven in my new series, where I take a look at the weird and wonderful world of words. If you missed part one, please click here. You’ll find part two here and part three here. For part four click here. Now for parts five and six

Q. When do you use the words ‘lay’ and ‘lie’?

A. You use the verb ‘lay’ to refer to putting something down. There needs to be an object e.g.:

I am going to lay the book flat on the table.

Past tense:

I laid the book flat on the table.

The word ‘lie’ is an irregular verb and doesn’t need an object e.g.:

When I’m on holiday, I love to lie out in the sun.

Past tense:

When I was on holiday, I lay out in the sun.

‘Lie’ has another meaning – when someone says something, which isn’t true e.g.:

I lied to my mum when I said I liked her new shoes.

Interesting word of the week:

UMBRIFEROUS

Meaning: casting a shadow/making shade.

***

silence

Photo credit: pinterest.com

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17 Responses to The Strange Working Of The English Language Part Seven

  1. I have always struggled with those two words and when to use them. Brings me back to middle school grammar days.

  2. Not wishing to be pedantic, but your example of lie/untruth is using the word as a noun, not a verb.
    I lied to my friend when I said I liked her new dress would be better.
    Sorry.

  3. I too struggle with lay and lie and lying and laying .. and I struggle with too and to too! Makes you wonder why I write – thank goodness for editors I say!

  4. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out the latest installment of Esther Chilton’s series on The Strange Working of the English Language from this post on her blog.

  5. Simon says:

    Why is English so weird??

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