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    #1

    Lay or Lie

    Can you please explain why so many people nowadays use Lay instead of Lie when speak about a process in which person takes horizontal position. For example, almost in every song they sing, "I'm laying in bed". Is "lay" correct to use in such cases? Thank you.

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    #2

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dready View Post
    Can you please explain why so many people nowadays use Lay instead of Lie when speak about a process in which person takes horizontal position. For example, almost in every song they sing, "I'm laying in bed". Is "lay" correct to use in such cases? Thank you.

    NOT A TEACHER


    (1) You have asked a wonderful question. No, I CANNOT give you the

    reason, but I CAN offer a few thoughts.

    (a) Many native speakers here in the States also get confused by

    those three verbs: To lie (not tell the truth), to lie (be on your back),

    to lay (something).

    (i) Sometimes I will hear even TV newsreaders say: "The victim was

    laying in the street"!!! (Instead of "lying.")

    (ii) The most common blunder may be "I laid on the beach yesterday"

    instead of the correct "I lay on the beach yesterday." I have a theory.

    It is probably wrong, but I am delighted to share it with you. I think that

    native speakers feel that "lay" (the past of "lie" on your back) does not

    sound like a past tense. As you know, many verbs have a past tense

    that ends in -ed. So speakers get accustomed to the -ed sound.

    Therefore, they might think that "laid" sounds like the right past tense

    because it has the "d" sound.

    (2) Of course, "I am laying in bed" is very bad English. Remember that

    "to lay" is transitive. That is, it needs an object: I am laying the flowers

    on the table. In your sentence, you want to announce that you are

    currently on your back in bed: I am lying in bed.

    (3) Don't feel bad. I am pretty sure that most of my fellow Americans

    would fail a test on these three words, and I doubt that I could get a

    100% mark on such a test.


    Respectfully yours,


    James

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    #3

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Thanks very much, TheParser, for your thoughts. It's now very clear for me.

    The question was inspired by one catchy American song by Bruno Mars
    Code:
    Today I don't feel like doing anything
    I just wanna lay in my bed
    Don't feel like picking up my phone
    So leave a message at the tone
    'Cause today I swear I'm not doing anything

  1. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dready View Post
    Thanks very much, TheParser, for your thoughts. It's now very clear for me.

    The question was inspired by one catchy American song by Bruno Mars
    Code:
    Today I don't feel like doing anything
    I just wanna lay in my bed
    Don't feel like picking up my phone
    So leave a message at the tone
    'Cause today I swear I'm not doing anything

    No offense to Bruno Mars and co. but lyrics is not the best source for learning English, especially pop and hip hop, etc. You'll find many weird sentences and ungrammatical constructions there. Lyrics are just an accompaniment to the music, you're not meant to listen to them closely.

  2. nyota's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    No offense to Bruno Mars and co. but lyrics is not the best source for learning English, especially pop and hip hop, etc. You'll find many weird sentences and ungrammatical constructions there. Lyrics are just an accompaniment to the music, you're not meant to listen to them closely.
    One would hope that if you get as little music as you do in hip hop, they'd at least get the lyrics right.

    Now. Where do I hide?

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    #6

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    No offense to Bruno Mars and co. but lyrics is not the best source for learning English, especially pop and hip hop, etc. You'll find many weird sentences and ungrammatical constructions there. Lyrics are just an accompaniment to the music, you're not meant to listen to them closely.
    But music, particularly pop punk rock has been inspiring me to learn English for many years. I'm not saying that I learn English grammar and words by listening to this kind of music but the music itself makes me want to dig into languages. =)

    For example, when I listen to Edith Piaf, I want to learn French again, which I did back in high school.

    What I'm trying to say is that I use music as an inspiration.

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    #7

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    ... lyrics is not the best source for learning English, ... . Lyrics are just an accompaniment to the music,...

  4. freezeframe's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post

    Great you're back and you're starting with being hostile again? Is there a reason for this? Didn't your holiday cure you of being rude to me at least for a few days?

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    #9

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by Dready View Post
    Can you please explain why so many people nowadays use Lay instead of Lie when speak about a process in which person takes horizontal position. For example, almost in every song they sing, "I'm laying in bed". Is "lay" correct to use in such cases? Thank you.
    TheParser has told you about "lie" meaning be on one's back/in a horizontal position. Since you asked about the process in which a person takes a horizontal position and not about the state of being in a horizontal position, I will add something I have found in a dictionary.

    Lay ("to put, place, or prepare") and lie ("to recline or be situated") have been confused for centuries; evidence exists that lay has been used to mean "lie" since the 1300s. Why? First, there are two lays. One is the base form of the verb lay, and the other is the past tense of lie. Second, lay was once used with a reflexive pronoun to mean "lie" and survives in the familiar line from the child's prayer Now I lay me down to sleep; lay me down is easily shortened to lay down.
    (AHD)

    The bold sentence is about this meaning of "lie": place oneself in a horizontal position (as opposed to be in a horizontal position).

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    #10

    Re: Lay or Lie

    Quote Originally Posted by freezeframe View Post
    Great you're back and you're starting with being hostile again? Is there a reason for this? Didn't your holiday cure you of being rude to me at least for a few days?
    Please let's leave your belligerent PMs and their responses out of the forum. You are anything but innocent, and your playing the "Oh, I'm so offended" card is wearing thin. It's not necessary. Let's all play nice.
    fjj's post is not rude. He's legitimately corrected an error you've made. We do this all the time. It's part of the culture of the forum, which is, after all, about the correct use of language and it's not meant to be offensive.
    The traditional response to being caught out grammatically is to admit that it's a fair cop.

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