Lay vs. Lie

This time, we've decided to focus on the differences and similarities between these two words. If you're still interested in expanding your knowledge, join me.

"Lay" vs. "Lie" in English

What Is Their Main Difference?

Both are verbs. However, 'lay' mainly means putting down something/someone. 'Lie', on the other hand, is about someone resting down in a horizontal position. Also, 'lay' is transitive and needs a direct object, whereas, 'lie' is intransitive and does not need a direct object.


As stated above, 'lie' refers to resting down on a surface in a horizontal position. Note that it is an intransitive verb and does not need a direct object. Look at the examples below:

I wanna lie down a bit and rest.

They all lied down and the commander entered the room.

'Lay', on the other hand, refers to putting something down. It is a transitive verb and needs a direct object. Check out the examples below:

The man laid the newspapers on the cabinet,

Mom's busy laying the sandwiches in the basket.


Both are verbs and refer to putting something/someone down. Look below:

Hannah laid the bed sheets on the bed.

She lied down and cried herself to bed.

Are They Interchangeable?

Many English language learners confuse these two verbs. However, note that they can never be used interchangeably. Compare:

✓ Lay your books on the shelf and listen to the professor.

X Lie your books on the shelf and listen to the professor.

As you can see, this one is semantically wrong.


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