Do You Lay Down or Lie Down?

Posted on June 29, 2013. Filed under: Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Lay/Lie Down

My mom took a lot of naps when I was a kid.  She wasn’t well and she would say, “I need to lay down” more than once per day.  I was astonished to find out later this is incorrect usage of the word lay.  This is surprising, because she was a stickler for spelling and grammar.    The English Club has a great explanation:

To lie:  to recline; to be in or to take a horizontal/resting position

To lay:  to put something down in a horizontal position

I found out it was wrong when I was a second grade teacher and being evaluated by an observer.  It was the only thing I did wrong!  She was incensed that I was modeling incorrect grammar for little kids.

So for a time I tried to say, “I need to lie down.”  But I have to tell you, to my ears it just sounds like I’m being hoyty-toyty, as though I think I’m royalty or something!  To this day I have trouble with it, so now I say, “Hey Charlie, do you want to take a nap?”  It sounds better to both Charlie and me!

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