use of English

Hi guys! How are you? Do you want to know what is the difference between lie and lay? These two verbs, to lie and to lay, are very tricky for English language learners, not only because they are very similar but also because they are irregular verbs . Have a look at the definitions and the examples provided down below, and don’t forget checking their pronunciation. Happy learning!

What is the difference between Lie and Lay?


Lay is a transitive verb, and it is also a past tense form of lie.

If you lay something somewhere, you put it there carefully. The other forms of lay are lays, laying, laid.

Lay a sheet of newspaper on the floor.

I carefully laid Marianne down on the sofa.

lay: to put down

Present tense: Lay your cards down.

Past tense: Joseph laid the cards down.

Future tense: Joseph will lay his cards down.

Perfect tense: Joseph has laid his cards down.


Lie is an intransitive verb.

If you lie somewhere, you are in a flat position, not standing or sitting. The other forms of lie in this meaning are lies, lying, lay, lain.

She lay on the bed, reading.

The baby was lying on the table.

If you lie, you say or write something that you know is not true. When lie is used in this meaning, its other forms are lies, lying, lied.

He lied to me.

She was sure that Thomas was lying.

lie: to repose flat

Present tense: Carly lies down.

Past tense: Carlylay down.

Future tense: Carly will lie down.

Perfect tense: Carly has lain down,

I hope now you can clearly see the difference between these two so similar verbs! Go on learning about when to use “especially” or specially”, the Use of English and about passing your First Certificate Exam with flying colors!



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