HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684

    short question on verb tenses

    Hi all.

    I usually have no problem with the lie (to recline)/lay (to put down) verbs. But of the following sentences, which would be correct?

    The guard lie motionless on the floor.

    The guard lay motionless on the floor.

    Thanks!!!!!!!!!!



  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Central Virginia
    Posts
    736
    "lie" I think, because it's intransitive and there's no object. But I hate this one so much that in my own writing I rewrite so that there's no question of needing to make a choice between these two. (Whichever one you use, readers will stop to think about it--which you probably don't want them to do for something like this.)

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    272
    Hi Tinman,

    I don't think it's that hard. "Lie" would be the proper verb, but the past tense form is "lay". So if the sentence is in present tense, it should be "The guard lies on the floor", and if it's past tense, it should be "the guard lay on the floor". Gary is right in that there's no object being acted on - nothing is being "laid" down. The guard is simply "lying" down.

    If the guard got knocked out, and someone else dragged him to the basement, it would be "He lay the guard down" (present) or "he laid the guard down" (past).

    I could be wrong!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684
    Gary. I think it's lie because it's present tense, but I think lay sounds better. I originally had was lying, but I didn't like that either lol. And you're right about some readers stopping to think about it. Thanks!!!

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    684
    Emily. I DO think it's lie, but what Gary said about the sentence distracting a reader is probably right. Guess I should just find another way to say it. Thanks!!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Miranda Clementine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    847
    Coincidently, I'm teaching my 2nd grader about the difference between lay or lie today. Just thought I'd share. (:
    Even those who make their living in dreamland must do their chores in the real world.
    -Scarlett Rice
    MC

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Rhinebeck, NY
    Posts
    4,623
    Quote Originally Posted by Miranda Clementine View Post
    Coincidently, I'm teaching my 2nd grader about the difference between lay or lie today. Just thought I'd share. (:
    Miranda, tell them when they LIE, they get smacked for whopper telling.

    And when they LAY something down, chances are good it's a pistol.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uESJlJAj7g

    *_*

  8. #8
    Senior Member Miranda Clementine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    847
    lol... hadn't heard that one before. I thought you'd lost your marbles when you said "chances are good it's a pistol."
    Even those who make their living in dreamland must do their chores in the real world.
    -Scarlett Rice
    MC

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    3
    Hallo,
    The forms depend on the type of verb; the irregular ones must be learnt by-heart (you use the second form, reserved for the Past Simple Tense), whereas the regular verbs add -ED to the Short Infinitive. There is only one form, for all the persons. The Negative and Interrogative are built with the auxiliary DID.
    2. The function: to specify that a certain action (state) took place at a specific moment in the past. It is generally accompanied by an Object of Time; when we do not wish to specify WHEN the action took place we may use both the Past Tense and the Present Perfect. The Past Simple Tense is also used instead of the Past Continuous Tense if the respective verb belongs to one of the categories forbidding the use of the Continuous Aspect. The Simple Past can also be utilised for a short (or a succession of short actions) action:
    ".......", she said.
    Thanks
    Howtofreelance (Prince)

  10. #10
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Columbus, Ohio
    Posts
    3,063
    What the...?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts