Past Tense of Lay: The True Meaning of Lay vs. Lie

The past tense of lay is laid. This is an irregular verb, which means that it does not follow the standard rules for creating the past tense. To form the past tense, you simply add -ed to the end of the word. For example, the past tense of “lay” is “laid.”

If you’re like most people, you probably use the words “lay” and “lie” interchangeably. However, these two words actually have different meanings and uses. In this blog post, we’ll explore the true meaning of “lay” vs. “lie”, and when to use each word correctly.

The true meaning of lay vs. lie.

What is the difference between lay and lie.

The main difference between lay and lie is that lay is a transitive verb, which means it requires an object to complete its meaning, whereas lie is intransitive and does not require an object. In other words, you can “lay something down,” but you cannot “lie something down.”

Here are some example sentences:

  • He laid the book on the table. (transitive verb).
  • The book was lying on the table. (intransitive verb).

When to use each word.

Lay should be used when you are physically transferring an inanimate object from one location to another. For example:

Can you lay the towels on the bed?

Lie should be used when referring to reclining or resting in a horizontal position. For example:

Please lie down on the bed so I can take your blood pressure.

The correct usage of lay.

The correct usage of lay.

The verb “lay” means to place something down in a flat position. It is transitive, meaning it requires an object. The word “laid” is the past tense of “lay,” and “laying” is the present participle.

Examples of lay in a sentence.

  • I am going to lay the blanket on the bed.
  • The baby was laid gently in her crib.
  • He laid his keys on the table.

He laid his keys on the table.

The correct verb to use with lay is “place.” When using “lay” you are placing something down, so it makes sense to use the verb “place” with it. Other verbs, such as “put” or “set,” can be used interchangeably with “lay.”

Here are some example sentences using lay with the verb “place:”

  • Can you please place the book on the shelf?
  • She placed her hand on his arm for support.
  • They were asked to place their bags under their seats.

The correct usage of lie.

Examples of lie in a sentence:

To lie (lē) means to recline. When you lie down, you assume a horizontal position. The basic form of the verb is lie, lay, lain:

  • I can’t wait to lie in the sun and relax.
  • Yesterday she lay on the beach for hours.
  • He has lain awake all night worrying about his job.

The correct verb to use with lie.

The verbs that commonly accompany lie are listed below. Note that many of these verbs can also be used with other meanings of lie; only the meaning “to recline” is discussed here.

lay (lā), laid (lād), laid, laying.

The past tense of lie is laid: He laid himself down on the couch and closed his eyes. The -ed participle is laid: He has been feeling tired lately and has taken to lying down for a nap every afternoon.

lie down (lī′doun′), lay down (lā′doun′), has lain down (haz lān′ doun′), had lain down (hăd lān′ doun′), will have lain down (wĭl hăv lān′ doun′)

These phrasal verbs mean “to recline”: I’m going to lie down for a while—my head is spinning from all that wine we drank at lunchtime. After lunch he often likes to lay himself down on the bed for a short rest before resuming work on his novel.”


The true meaning of lay vs. lie is that they are two different verbs with two different meanings. Lay means to put something down, while lie means to recline or be in a horizontal position. It is important to know when to use each word in order to avoid confusion and misuse.

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