Lied, lay or laid?

Hi everyone!

I’ve got an email from a very dedicated student asking for some answers for a couple of exercises in the book and I thought they could be useful for everyone. Here’s the first question:

“Hi Jon,
I have been doing some exercises from  Student Book, but I have questions about:

Page 14, exercise c,f.
In exercise C I filled with “laid”, and in F I did with “lie”.”

First take a look at the following:

A. lay : to put something in a flat or horizontal position, usually carefully or for a particular purpose. As in: ‘She laid the baby on the bed.’ (the past is ‘laid‘ and the past participle is also ‘laid‘). 

B. lieto be in or move into a horizontal position on a surface. As in: ‘I usually lie in bed while I read at night” (This verb is also irregular, its past form is ‘layand its past participle is ‘lain) The example ‘A cat lay in front of the fire.’  takes place in the past.

C. lie:the opposite of telling the truth. As in: ‘I suspect he lies about his age.’ (This verb is regular, its past form is ‘lied‘ and so is its past participle)

So here are the answers for exc. 5 on page 14:

a. ...All I wanted was to lie down and go to sleep. (case B)
b. …so she just laid her hand on his shoulder… (case A)
c. …they found three people lying on the floor. (case B)
d. …I just lay on my back… (case B)
e. I know you lied to me last night! (case C)
f. …my sister and I took turns to lay the table… (case A)

Just to make things interesting, listen to this song by Bob Dylan called ‘Lay, lady lay‘ (Read the lyrics here) Can you spot the language mistake he made?


5 thoughts on “Lied, lay or laid?

  1. I can spot the language mistake, but only after I read several times the article of the student’s book and the article “lay versus lie” The Grammar Girl, then, the lyrics should be “Lie lady lie, lie across my big brass bed.”

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