Do You Lay or Lie? It’s the Grammar Police!

Miss Crankypants loves to watch tortured writers try to figure which lay is a lie and when it’s proper to have laid an egg or lied to your mother. As all non-English speakers know, the language is a death trap. If the homophones don’t get you, the idioms will.
Speaking of idiots, are you completely sure, as in 100% certain, that you know the tenses of the word lay and all its attending variations?
I lay an egg. The hen is laying in the road.
Six geese are a’laying in the 12 Days of Christmas.
You tell a lie. She laid the table. (OUCH!)
He lay upon the bed. If he laid on the bed, it might get messy.

She lies through her teeth. She’s always lying around.

Miss CP has discovered the true reason for all this confusion. She lays blame squarely at the feet of songwriters and TV news persons. Can you imagine Bob Dylan singing, Lie Lady Lie? What’s that supposed to mean?
As if this wasn’t bad enough, too many people go with their ear instead of their Strunk & White. Thus, we get news anchors who say, “Hopefully, we’ll get rain.” or “There’s many reasons for this.” AAACK!
George Washington might have been mixed up when he famously insisted, “I cannot tell a lie.” Was George a golfer with a vicious hook slice? And what about surveyors who have to know the lay of the land?
All this makes Miss Crankypants tired. Just weight four the reel grate righting that’s shore to flour once you no the write lay to lay down. Sorry. She can’t help herself. The Grammar Police just hit her over the head. OUCH.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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