Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Lay of the Land

More verbal burble, as promised.

The verbs sit, lie and rise never have objects of their action.
Set, lay, and raise demand objects, with a few exceptions.

I have tried to keep it clean.

Lie - to recline.
I lie ( present tense) down, awake, on the grass, in bed.
I am lying ( present participle)
I lay ( past tense)
I have lain ( past participle)

Lay - to put or place something ( an object, a thing)
I lay ( present tense) the gun on the table, the baby in the crib, an egg...
I am laying (present participle)
I laid ( past tense - Ric's favourite)
I have laid ( past participle)

Any confusion probably arises out of the similarity between the present tense of lay and the past tense of lie - which look the same. Deceitful homonyms may also compound the difficulty.

Rise ( ascend)
I rise ( present) from the bed, above pain, to a challenge.
I am rising ( present participle)
I rose ( past)
I have risen ( past participle)

Raise ( elevate - to cause something to rise)
I raise ( present) the flag, a fuss, children, Cain.
I am raising ( present participle)
I raised ( past)
I have raised ( past participle)

There you go.
Hope it helps clear the mud.


Carla said...

You must have been Miss Bustlewhistle's star pupil :-)

Bernita said...

Nooo, my handwriting was atrocious, you see, and I always seemed to come up with the "but what about..." questions.

I learned to talk without moving my lips in her classes. I think she always suspected me though.

Flood said...

Thanks, Bernita!

Anonymous said...

Bernita, thank you! I just replaced a 'put'in my mss with a 'lay'...and with confidence.

kmfrontain said...

Ah, the things we must do to perfect our craft. I went through the lay/laid thing a number of times, mostly because of the past tense of lie (lay), which can be confused at times with the present tense of lay.

I lay on my belly with my hamster. I lay the hamster on my belly.

The tense change there can twist a mental nut too tight.

Bernita said...

You're welcome, Flood and Anonymous.

And squush the hamster to boot, KM!

Jaye Wells said...


Thanks for the excellent refresher.


Dennie McDonald said...

print.... post to wall ... refer to when writing....

December Quinn said...

So when writing in past tense, as we all do, we should always use "lay" or "laid"? And only "lie" in dialogue? (See what I did there?)

BTW thanks for the Crabby Cows link. I was #10!

Bernita said...

Finding my grammar sense overlain at times by reading repetitions done wrong,Jaye, I need a refresher now and then.

Or "lain" or "laid, December."
Unless one is quoting the Coventry Carol.

Bhaswati said...

Please keep these coming.

Bernita said...

Hope it helps and does not confuse, Dennie.'t intended...anything you'd like to see, Bhaswati?

Bonnie Calhoun said...

The raise and rise isn't so bad but the lay and lie gets me every time....and I ain't, laying...ugh, telling a falsehood :-)

December Quinn said...

Try "prevariacating", Bonnie. Foolproof. :-)

S. W. Vaughn said...

Excellently explained. There is often so much confusion over lay/lie, and it seems fewer and fewer proofreaders catch the mistakes.

(BTW, I'm okay, Bernita -- thanks for asking!)

Bernita said...

I sometimes have to stop and reason the thing out, Bonnie.

Thank you, Sonya. Was concerned.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Great answer, December....all I need to do is be able to spell it! LOL! Do you know how many times I write something and forget to spellcheck...LOL!

Rick said...

The Coventry Carol must be the one I was just about to quote!

Bernita said...

Bit of a cheat on my part, Rick.

archer said...

A "layette" is a term unknown to guys that apparently means "a set of little stretchies and other assorted clothes for the new baby." I thought it was a changing table. I got in an argument with the guy at Kids 'R' US about this, and I had to call my wife at the hospital.

Bernita said...

"Layette" is from French> Middle French as the diminutive of "laye" box. Related to the OE "hladan"- to load.
You're just a few centuries out, Archer.

Shesawriter said...

I cut and pasted this for future reference. Thanks, babe. You're a lifesaver.

Elizabeth said...

Aahhh, words...the devils that befriend and beguile us.

Aside from the grammatical clarity, your post cracked me up!

We are planning an event right now and will give away leis to people who make a donation to our organization.

We can hardly have a conversation about these leis without sputtering all over ourselves thanks to innocent comments like, "Everyone wants a lei, don't they?"

Bernita said...

You're welcome, Girl!

Actors in the middle of rehersals do the same thing, Elizabeth...the joy of in-jokes...

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