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    #1

    Westlife song: lied, lay?

    Hi everyone,

    I have a question concerning an old song of the boyband Westlife called "When you're looking like that".

    The lyrics are (part of it):

    "She's all dressed up for glamour and rock and roll
    Wanna squeeze her real tight, get out of this place
    If only I could take control
    But she is out of my reach forever
    And just a week ago she lied next to me
    It's so ironic how I had to lose just to see"

    What I am confused about ist the use of the word "lied".
    Doesn't that technically mean that a week ago she told him a lie?
    Maybe they want to say that but I guess they probably want to say "lay", as in lying on a bed together.

    But as a native speaker, is it possible to say lied instead of lay or even laid in everyday language? Maybe just in Ireland, where the band is from?

    Thank you!

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    It should be "lay".

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    #3

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    I wouldn't be surprised to see "laid" in place of "lay", as they're often used interchangeably in spoken English. No AmE speaker, at least, would use "lied" for "lay".
    I am not a teacher.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    I agree.

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    #5

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I wouldn't be surprised to see "laid" in place of "lay", as they're often used interchangeably in spoken English. No AmE speaker, at least, would use "lied" for "lay".
    That's common enough in British English, but lied would be very unusual. I don't know whether it's in use in Ireland.

  3. Raymott's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    It's a song. Maybe she lied while lying next to him.

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    #7

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    Hey guys,

    thanks for the replies!

    As a foreign language learner I expect native speakers to always use correct language, although I know that I don't even always do so in my own mother tongue Also, what exactly is correct, when languages constantly change?

    Still, things like "I have took", "aks" instead of "ask", or the question whether it should be "Pete and me" or "Pete and I" often catch my attention and I don't really like these "inaccuracies" because it makes my beloved English kind of unpredictable.

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    #8

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isny View Post


    As a foreign language learner I expect native speakers to always use correct language.

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****

    Hello, Isny:

    Of course, I cannot prove it, but I have no doubt whatsoever that most Americans could NOT pass a test on "lie" (on the beach), "lie" (with your mouth), and "lay" (put).

    I frequently hear television reporters say something like "There were 20 wounded people laying in the street."

    When they do that, I want to ask: What were those 20 people laying?

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    #9

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isny View Post
    Hey guys,

    thanks for the replies!

    As a foreign language learner I expect native speakers to always use correct language, although I know that I don't even always do so in my own mother tongue Also, what exactly is correct, when languages constantly change?

    Still, things like "I have took", "aks" instead of "ask", or the question whether it should be "Pete and me" or "Pete and I" often catch my attention and I don't really like these "inaccuracies" because it makes my beloved English kind of unpredictable.
    Language does indeed change over time, accompanied by despairing comments from people who somehow always see change as decline. One aspect of English that sees constant change is the irregular past forms of verbs. Sank, the only simple past of "to sink" that feels natural to me, has largely been replaced by "sunk" in AmE over just the last few years. These seem to have shifted back and forth a number of times over the centuries.

    "Ax" is a very old variant for ask. Its having landed especially firmly in black AmE makes it a particularly touchy shiboleth; I've often seen it held up as an example of careless usage in ways that can look like thinly-veiled racism. I can't imagine it provokes that kind of reaction outside the USA.

    You have my sympathy with respect to "Pete and me." I'm convinced the near-universal confusion between subject and object pronouns derives from generations of English teachers' belief that English lacks the disjunctive pronoun, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. Teachers used to try to make their students answer "it is I" or "it is he" instead of the natural, long-established "it's me" and "it's him." They only succeeded in instilling the fear that the object pronoun is probably wrong, leading their unfortunate students to say things like "between he and I."
    I am not a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: Westlife song: lied, lay?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isny View Post
    I don't really like these "inaccuracies" because it makes my beloved English kind of unpredictable.
    Unpredictable- but they also add to the character of the language.

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