General Grammar: Quiz #3 – Laying vs. lying

The following is the third and final “prequel.” Beginning February 5, there will be no more recycled material from General Grammar – only GENERAL GRAMMAR iconnewly crafted lessons, quizzes, or frustrated rantings…

Please select the correct word to complete each sentence:

1)      The cats love to (lay, lie) _________ on the windowsill basking in the sunshine.

2)      But a Samaritan who saw the injured man (laying, lying) __________ at the side of the road…

3)      After you (lay, lie) _______ the newspaper down, please (lay, lie) _______ down on the couch.

4)      How many times have I told you not to leave your smelly socks (laying, lying) _________ all over the floor?!?

If you are prone to laying around the house, get over it. You need to start lying around. Or better yet, get up and exercise. You will feel great. Really…I’m not lying! I heard this from a very reliable source.

And if you have already trained your dog to “lay down,” retraining may be difficult because we all know how hard it is to teach old dogs new tricks. Furthermore, I do not want to be responsible for causing a lot of dogs to become maladjusted. But, if you just acquired a Christmas puppy, please train him/her to “lie down!”

Why? Because “lay, laying” requires an object upon which the act must be performed. “Down” is not an object (unless you are referring to the stuff inside your Michelin-man winter coat). If still in doubt, try substituting the words “set/setting” or “put/putting.” If either of those makes sense and sounds right in the context, then choose “lay/laying.”

Hence, the correct answers to the above quiz are

1)      lie
2)      lying
3)      a) lay, b) lie
4)      lying

Whew! I think I’ll go lie down for a nap now.

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2 thoughts on “General Grammar: Quiz #3 – Laying vs. lying

  1. scribejay says:

    Meanwhile, Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” wants to have it both ways:

    If I lay here
    If I just lay here
    Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

    Almost makes you wonder if the use of “lie” in the third line isn’t designed to have a double meaning (lie down, and tell a falsehood).

  2. scribejay says:

    Topic request: the oft-taught “punctuation within the quotation marks” rule, including how it should or should not be adjusted when dealing with technical material.

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