Lie or Lay
The words lie and lay can be very confusing. There are a few things to remember about these two words that will help.
To lie means to rest.
To lay means to place or to put [an object]
The forms of lay require a direct object.
That means when a form of to lay is used, something ... an object, must be in the sentence receiving the action of lay. The presence of the object is a big clue. NOTE: Do not confuse a direct object with an object of the preposition.
Past Tense Examples:
Emily laid the vase
on the table. Emily placed the vase on a table.
Vase is the direct object. Laid is the past tense of lay. On the table is a prepositional phrase.
Emily lay on
the couch. >> There is no direct object
in this sentence. Emily is resting on the couch.
(on the couch is a prepositional phrase, making couch the object of the preposition.)
Lay is the past tense of lie.
Present Participle Example:
The truck was lying on its side. >> There is no direct object in this sentence. The truck is resting; it is not placing. You would not say the truck was laying on its side. Lying is the present participle tense of lie.
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