Saturday, March 10, 2012

I won't lie about lay

Warning: Grammar Nazis, turn back now. This post may offend you.

One of the issues that has come up as I get my material proofread is that my grammar is occasionally not the most stellar. It's a fair issue, as mistakes do slip through. I'm not perfect, no one is, so I try to make sure any errors are caught.

However, on occasion I'm willing to let some "technical" errors slide, in the name of informality. As long as it sounds good, there shouldn't be any issues. The main case of me doing this is with the words "lie" and "lay".

I'm not going to explain the technical details of all the scenario cases here, but the general rule of thumb is that, in the present tense, you use lie when referring to doing it yourself, and lay when doing it to something else. Lay is also the past tense (or some form thereof) of lie, so you have that issue.

In short, you probably need a chart just to determine what to use.

My reaction, of course, is to chuck those rules out the window. The English language is confusing enough as it is, thank you very much. The last thing I want to do is have to constantly check every time I use a certain word.

Thus, I have developed my own rule of thumb. It's really simple: Lie = telling a lie. Lay = physically laying down (be it yourself or some other object).

I know, I know, it's not the Queen's English. Still, I figure it makes it a lot simpler for me to write that way. And I doubt it makes it any harder for my work to be read (and possibly the opposite).

Some other authors might disagree with me, but hey, they aren't writing my books, are they? (I hope not.) As long as I can write well in most other aspects, I don't think there's room to complain.

Now, I'm off to go entertain myself for a few hours, before I lay down on my bed and sleep.

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