What is the difference between “lay” and “lie”?

How do I know when to use lay and when to use lie, and what are the different forms of each verb? I’m always getting them confused.


The verb lay is transitive.

You lay something on the table.

The verb lie is intransitive.

You lie on the table when you are
operated upon.

The confusion comes because the past tense of lie is lay:

He lay on the table for two hours before he was operated upon.

Few native speakers get this right. Most people would say, “He laid on the table for two hours.” Bill Clinton constantly made this mistake in speeches.

Source : Link , Question Author : nohat , Answer Author : Edward Tanguay

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