Lay / Laid / Lie – Confusing VERBS at C1 or Advanced Level of English

These 3 irregular verbs are very similar in meaning and also have similar past participles.  Read the explanation to uncover the differences below.

Verb to lay – takes a direct object (lay something down)

Meanings: (a.) to careful put something in position, (b.) to reproduce

Example sentences:

  • Birds and fish are not the only animals to lay eggs.  Other species like insects, turtles and crocodiles also lay eggs.
  • She laid the baby gently into his little cot bed so as not to wake him.
  • Have you laid the table yet?

Verb to lie (1) – no direct object

Meaning: (a.) to position horizontally, (b.) to be situated

Example sentences:

  • Are you tired?  Why don’t you go and lie down for a while?
  • The city lies 200km away from the mountains.
  • We lay down on the beach on went to sleep.
  • He’s so lazy.  He has lain on that couch all day!

Verb to lie (2) 

Meaning: to be untruthful

Example sentences:

  • He’s so dishonest.  He always lies about everything.
  • They lied to the teacher about doing their homework exercises.
  • She couldn’t believe that he had another wife in a different country.  He had lied to her for years.

Lay or Lie. lay, laid, laid, lie, lay, lain, lie, lied, lied, irregular past forms in english

False Friends – LAY or LIE

  Argue Or DiscussLook, See Or Watch?   


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