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Laying or Lying?

Which one of these is correct?

While she was lying on her back.

While she was laying on her back.

I'm getting mixed messages from my Beta's. Lie = untruth Lay = what a chicken does. Mr Google is confusing too.

Thanks Sue

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Replies (6)
    • Thank you so much. Yes that has clarified it for me. Brilliant!

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      • The 'while' was just a typo. Thanks for pointing it out.

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        • Lay is tricky because it has 2 meanings:

          1. Lay is the past tense to lie (to rest in a horizontal position). For example, “this morning she lies on her back” but “yesterday she lay on her back”

          2. The verb “to lay” (to set down). For example, “today the chickens lay 10 eggs” or “they lay new railroad track”.

          I hope that helps. 

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          • Thanks L, always getting that one wrong!

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          • Thanks L,

            I think I understand now. Sometimes I wished I had paid more attention at school!😃 

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            • Laure's answer is perhaps incomplete (even if technically right).

              Both of your options are viable, depending what you mean, and admittedly the second is a rather obscure usage with respect to oneself.

              You probably mean the first. She's there, stretched out. While that is the case, something happens.

              The second could mean that the event happens during that moment she is laying herself down. She's not standing. She's not already stretched out. This is the act of transition. Effectively the same meaning as the egg scenario, but it can apply to other things; frequently used with respect to carpets, for example.

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