Friday, November 17, 2006

More Grammar by Request!


You, Dear Readers, are making Grammar Week very easy for me; I haven't had to think up a topic for two days! Thank you for that!


Today’s sticky grammar question comes to us by way of Feather over at Tatterdemallion. She writes:

Ooh! Oooh! Lay/lie? I've had this explained to me several times by a fabulous teacher, but I am unable to make it stick in my mind. I blame Bob Dylan. I think I've got it, but then I start humming "Lay Lady Lay" and I begin to second doubt myself.

This is a tough one for a lot of people, and Bob Dylan isn't helping at all.


“Lay” means “to place”. It is a transitive verb, which is just a technical way of saying that it needs a direct object - there’s always something that receives the action of laying (yeah, yeah - I know what you’re thinking - knock it off):

“I laid my keys down on the table, but now they’re gone!”

“Lay the book on the counter while you put the cream in your coffee.”

"She plans to lay out the best china for Thanksgiving dinner."



“Lie” is an intransitive verb that means “to recline.” It doesn’t have a direct object:

“I have a headache. I’m going to lie down to see if it will go away on its own.”

“The fault lies in not knowing how to effectively manage your time.”

"If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas."


The trick I use? Try to replace the verb form with whatever tense of “place” works in the context. In above:

“I placed my keys down on the table, but now they’re gone” works.

“I have a headache. I’m going to place down to see if it will go away on its own” doesn’t.

Get it?

7 Comments:

Blogger Cassie said...

So if the word 'place' doesn't make sense in the sentence, you want to use 'lie'?

It's really that simple??




Who knew?!

November 17, 2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger HomeFireBlue said...

I LOVE the new grammar posts! You should do one every week! Grammar Wednesday (or whatever).

November 17, 2006 2:14 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

Yeah, SassieCassie - it really is that simple. And now YOU know!

I'm glad you're enjoying the posts, Blue! I'd be happy to make them a regular segment, just so long as people leave me material. Sometimes the inspiration just doesn't hit, you know?

November 17, 2006 2:19 PM  
Blogger Cassie said...

More grammar?!

-Further and farther. Is there a difference?

-Then and than. How and when are these used?

-"That". Ex: I know that I should know the difference.
Is this sentence still proper without "that"? Why do we use it if we don't need it?

-Who and whom....I can never have this explained enough.

-Agreement of amounts. Ex: If someONE is getting bullied THEY should tell the teacher.
(I had to listen to a 25 minute presentation in class today that included grammar mistakes like this one.)(that one?)



I think if you only do one a week, those examples take us well into December!! There's just so much to know. ;-)

Thanks for being the awesome teacher you are! (There's something wrong with that sentence isn't there?)

November 17, 2006 3:07 PM  
Blogger Cassie said...

I seem to have issues with the word "that".


When you are referring to people, is it proper to use the word "that"?

Ex: People THAT write well.

Should it be 'people WHO write well'?


Okay...really, I'm done blogstalking. Have a great weekend.

November 17, 2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Mrs.Chili said...

Well, then! I guess it's settled! Grammar Wednesdays begin on the 22nd! Keep the topic ideas coming!

November 17, 2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger feather said...

I love the idea of Grammar Wednesdays. I probably have more questions, but I can't remember them right now...

Thanks for the lie/lay post. The "place" replacement might just work! I'll just have to remember it.

By the way, I forgot to say thank you for the poetry book recommendation. I've put it on my list of books to buy. Unfortunately, it'll have to wait until my next-next paycheck (that's the one after the one I've got coming) because I have already spent my quota for the month. Book buying, it's a sickness! I should be banned from half.com and powells.com.

November 18, 2006 6:27 PM  

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