Proper Word Usage: Lie vs. Lay

Two words frequently confused and used incorrectly in conversation are lie and lay.  Webster’s Dictionary will give you very detailed definitions of both words.  I will give you brief definitions to help you remember when to use each word properly.  You may still want to take a look at the dictionary to understand all the proper uses of these words so you don’t embarrass yourself in a professional or social setting.

Lie means to assume a horizontal position.  “I’m going to lie down and take a nap.”

Lay means to put or set something down.  “Please lay the book on the table.”

Lay is also the past tense of lie.  “I felt a cold draft as I lay there earlier.”

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