Commonly Confused Words: Lie vs. Lay

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Hands up – who gets confused between when to use the word ‘lie’ and when to use the word ‘lay’? You are not alone!

This week we’ve put together a flowchart to help you figure out when to use each word.

Here are the words used in some example sentences:

  • He lies about his age so that he can get into clubs.
  • Stop lying to everyone – you’ll only get yourself into more trouble!
  • I lied to my boss and told her I was sick because I didn’t want to miss my friend’s birthday party.
  • He knew she had lied to him, but he was willing to give her a second chance.
  • When he wants to have a rest during the day, the man lies down on his sofa.
  • Mum’s lying down at the moment, but she’ll be awake soon.
  • She lay under the tree and read her book.
  • We thought he was going to die, he had lain in a coma for past three months, but suddenly he began showing signs of recovery.
  • Please lay the table.
  • We’re planning on laying new tiles in our bathroom, but first we have to decide on a colour.
  • They laid down the groundwork over a few months, and then began working on the project in January.
  • They had laid down their arms for now, but the conflict wasn’t officially over.

If you found this post useful, why not check out some of our other articles on commonly confused words?


19 Jan 2015
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