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How to Use "Lay" vs. "Lie"

Learn how to use "lay" vs. "lie" from Gotham Writers' Workshop instructor Stephanie Paterik in this Howcast grammar video.


I'm gonna teach you the difference between the words lay and lie and I have to be honest, everyone has an Achilles Heal in grammar and this is mine. It's one of those that have to Google every time I come across it to remember. What is the difference between lay and lie and which one do I need? So, let's go over it together. Essentially, we use the work lay when we are laying something down and we use the word lie when we, ourselves, are lying down. So, I might say, ' I lay down this marker on the desk. I'n now going to lie down for a nap.'

It's a subtle difference but hopefullyyou can see. I'll give you one more example. So, you can see we havethis sentence, 'I lay my head on the pillow.' Now, why do we use theword lay here instead of lie since I'm the one who is lying down?Well, the reason is because lay refers to my head. So, I'm performingthe action of laying my head onto the pillow before I go to sleep.That's why we use lay there, but if I say something like, 'she isgoing to lie down now,' I just mean she, her whole person, is goingto lie down. She's not lying down anything but herself.

So, I hope that makes it a little bit clearer and just keep in mind that lay and lie are used differently and I'm going to bookmark this video so I never make that mistake again.

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