Module 4, Verbs: Agreement and Challenges, Lesson 11:

Challenging Verbs: Lie/Lay


Lie: to lie (yourself) down.

I lie down on my bed when I am tired.

Lay: to lay something else down.

I lay down my backpack in the hallway when I get home.
Present Present
Past Past Participle
Lie (self) lie lying lay lain
Lay (object) lay laying laid laid

Notice that the transitive verb (the one you do to an object) is more regular than the intransitive verb (the one you do to yourself). Lay adds -ing and -ed (with a spelling change). Lie adds -ing, but changes to lay and lain.

I lie down on my bed when I am tired.
I am lying down on my bed right now.
I lay down on my bed yesterday.
In the past I have lain down on my bed.

I lay my backpack down in the hall.
I am laying my backpack down.
Yesterday I laid my backpack down.
In the past I have laid my back pack down.

Practice What You've Learned

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Choose the correct verb to complete the sentence.
I was sure I had lay/laid my keys down by the front door, but somehow they got into the refrigerator.
The tiger laid/lay in wait in the bushes, waiting for a deer to pass by.
I have often lain/laid awake at night worrying about the next day.
Allison usually lies/lays her rings down on the sink when she washes her hands, but sometimes she forgets them.
I knew my little brother was lying/laying in wait behind the door, waiting to jump out and scare me, but I played along.
The lawyer lay/laid her files aside and spoke passionately to the jury.
The accident victim lay/laid on the side of the road until the ambulance arrived.
Julie is lying/laying out her clothes for tomorrow.
The castle lies/lays on the bank of the Rhein River.
Before we moved, my cat laid/lay in the bathroom window whenever it was sunny.