By Annette Rey
Let’s not waste a lot of time and create confusion on this one.
The difference between lay and lie is simple.
Lay and lie are verbs, an action word in a sentence.
Lay = to set down, to put action on something else
Lie = to be or to stay at rest, requiring no further action
Lay requires an object. –
Betty, lay the baby here. (baby is the object)
I laid the book down. (laid is the past tense of lay, book is the object)
Lie does not require an object. –
The cat is lying on the windowsill.
He lies in peace.
Grammar books and teachers can make these distinctions so confusing. There is a place for those details and they are important to know. But, for quick understanding, I like to cut through those rules where I can, and simply present basic meaning and usage of words.
I hope this approach helps you effortlessly grasp the difference between lay and lie.
Here’s to good writing!