Lay Versus Lie

One of the most common grammatical errors is mixing up “lay” with “lie”.

I hope to shed a little light on things.

To put it simply:

  • A person lies down.
  • A person lays an object down.


  • I need to lie down.
  • You should lie down.
  • Take off those filthy boots before you lie on the sofa.


  • I can’t lay this book down.
  • You should lay down your weapon.
  • I had to lay the blanket on the grass.

The examples above were all in the present tense. Things become tricky once you use the past tense or past participle.

Instead of explaining those to you, I’m going to let Grammar Girl do it. She does a fantastic job.

Check out Grammar Girl’s guide to Lay and Lie here.

And remember, you need to lay the sheets on the bed so you can lie down.

Lay Versus Lie


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