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Lay, lie, sit and set

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by

Marcos Martinez

on 4 March 2014

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Transcript of Lay, lie, sit and set

Please Sit Up, Don't Just Lie There!
Remember, you
sit
down when you
set
your butt down;
And don't forget the Golden Goose only
lays
her golden eggs after
lying
down.
To Lie or to Lay, To Set or to Sit

These are the errors that haunt your English teacher and give him grammar-mares!

But what is the difference between these confounded, similar-looking words?
Let's find out!

-To sit means
to take a seat
. (Simple enough.)

-To set means
to place
, as in an object.
Let us start with the easiest of the two sets of common verb errors, SET and SIT.
These are easy to differentiate because they have completely different definitions.
For example, we would say, "Please
set
your books down on the desk before you
sit
."
Or, "I will
sit
at my desk after I
set
my books on the shelf.
Let's Practice!
1. Beyonce did not ______ for three whole hours during her last concert.
2. In 2011, Adele ______ fire to the rain.
3. Did you ______ your drink down on a coaster before you went to ______ and play video games?
Good job, everyone!
But now comes the tough couple of
misused and abused verbs,
Lay and Lie.
These are more difficult because they share roughly the same definition.

On top of the similar definitions, it is also possible to use the word
LAY
when we use the verb
LIE
in the
PAST TENSE
.
For example,
"The snow from the polar vortex lay on the sidewalk all month."

Or, to get really crazy with it, here are both verbs,

"As I lay me down to sleep, I think of the snow that lay all this week.
-To Lay is to
PLACE
(a thing) in a horizontal position

-To Lie is to
BE
in a horizontal position

_______________
The biggest phrase we all use mistakenly
(but won't ever again) is:
"I'm going to go
lay
down." Because you are you, and you are acting upon yourself, you are going to go
lie
down.
Ultimately, what we want to recognize is the difference in how we use the words in the present tense, and that there is a difference in how you and I lie versus how you and I lay. Lie means that either a person or animal (an actor) is doing something to himself.
Lay, on the other hand, means that the actor is acting on something or someone else.
Let's Practice!
1. Jay Z went into the studio to ______ down some beats.
2. After that 3 hour concert Beyonce had to _____ down.
3. Will you _____ down the doggie bed so the dog can ______ still?
Great Job, Everyone!
Full transcript