Lay, Lie, Lying, Lain, Laid, Lied? What is happening?
Lay and Lie and their past tense forms confuse most people. Think of these word forms in two ways to simplify it:
Lay has an object. Lie does not. What does that mean, you may ask?
Here’s a simple example:
Present tense –
Lay: “Please take the flowers and lay them on the table.” flowers=object.
Lay is to put or set something down.
Lie: “Why don’t you lie down for a while.”
Lie refers to recline.
Past tense –
She laid the flowers on the table.
I felt ill, so I lay down. [this sounds incorrect to most people.]
I was laying the flowers on the table.
I have been lying around ill all day.
Last — the ever-confusing Past Participle:
(who remembers this?) – describing what happened in the past. And this will sound odd to you.
She had laid the flowers on the table when asked.
I lain there for some time before I felt better.
Lay, laid, laid, laying (has an object)
Lie, laid, lain, lying (reclining, no object)