Improve Your English – Lesson 5: The Difference between Lay/Lie
Even some native speakers have trouble with these two words—learn them well and you will be a superstar!
Lie is an intransitive verb and never has an object. It means to stay at rest in a horizontal position.
- Don’t say: I am going to lay down for a nap.
- Do say: I am going to lie down for a nap.
Lay is a transitive verb and always requires an object. It means to set or put something down.
- Don’t say: Please lie this book on the desk.
- Do say: Please lay this book on the desk.
Remember the saying “Let sleeping dogs lie” and note that the sleeping dog is not moving.
Lay is more active than lie.