Tonight, Keeping Up With The Kardashians airs its final episode. Ever.
With that, I bring you the final “episode” of Keeping up with Grammar Tips.
We’re going to focus on:
Lie versus Lay
These two are commonly confused because they have similar (but not the same) meanings.
As noted in the above table:
Lie = to rest or recline
ex: Rob had lain down after work. Kris is lying down after gardening. Why don’t we all lie down for twenty minutes, then meet up for supper?
In these examples, “lie” in all of its various tenses is the active verb in the sentence, taking no direct object.
Lay = to set (an object) down
Note: with this verb, there is usually a direct object involved.
ex: I lay the flowers (down) on the table before filling the vase up with water. Kourtney laid the books (down) on the bed. Khloé was laying a blanket over the chair when Kim walked in.
In the above examples, “flowers”, “books”, and “blanket” are all the direct objects of the verb lay (“lay”; “laid”; “laying” respectively).
You can see why these two verbs are often confused and conflated!
If you are guilty of making this mistake, you’re not alone and you’re certainly not stupid.
Take a look at the following “comic”:
I reposted this to my Instagram story this past week with the caveat that I don’t really think it’s all that funny.
- The fact that the base of the joke is the confusion surrounding “lie versus lay” makes it very clear that this is a common issue.
- The dog, while cute–because hello? dog!–is actually quite rude and demeaning.
At this point you might be saying Meredith, you’re missing the whole point of the comic, the owner seems mean and the dog is getting one up on him, blah blah blah.
But I think we’re missing something more important.
Language is complicated and confusing with various grammar rules and exceptions.
No one needs to be made to feel stupid for making a grammar mistake (or really at all).
When you demean someone for being “stupid” or not knowing something, you squash their confidence and their potential.
No one deserves to feel that way–not even an unpleasant dog owner.
Don’t stoop to his level doggy!
My advice? Make the mistake. That’s how you learn.
Let’s make and solve mistakes together!
Thank you for spending this time together.