Lay Versus Lie

I am not going to talk about lying, as in – not telling the truth here. We will discuss the difference between lay and lie and focus on the setting/reclining meaning of those two verbs.

Present tense      Past tense    Past participle

Lay                           Laid                  Laid                    + OBJECT

= to put or set down, to place for rest or sleep

You do it to something. You lay something down. Bob has laid the plate on the table. I laid the towel on the chair. Jim laid his report card on the table. My mum has laid his laundry on the bed.

Present tense       Past tense       Past participle

Lie                            Lay                       Lain                    = NO NEED FOR AN OBJECT

= to be in a horizontal position

You just do it. People lie down by themselves. My aunt has lain in bed all day. Yesterday the cat lay in the sun. The book has lain on the table for days. Sue lay on her bed and cried. If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world? (second conditional) 🙂