comparing 'Lay' in present and past tense Present : 1.You lie down on the sofa. 2.You 'lay' the book down on the table. Past: 1.Last week, you 'lay' down on the couch. 2.Last week, you laid the book on the table. How can 'lay' be used in both present and past tense? Is there any specific structure of sentence when LAY can be used in both present and past?
Oct 23, 2018 1:36 PM
Answers · 7
As you have correctly indicated, (a)"lay" (having one's entire body resting on a surface) is in the simple past tense (lie-->lay--> lain) while (b) "lay" (depositing something on a surface) is in the simple present tense (lay--> laid --> laid). They happen to have the same spelling. You can use "lay" in both present and past tense if you are using it as two different verbs (a) and (b) in a sentence. Example: Last night, as I (a) lay on my couch in the dark, I could see the burglar trying (b)to lay his hands on my wallet. As you can see, although I used to-infinitive in (b), the action of the burglar is still in the past because I used "Last night". We cannot rely on the verb tense alone to determine if something happened in the past, is happening now or going to happen in the future. We need to look at the entire sentence for its overall meaning as well. I hope this helps.
October 23, 2018
What do you mean? They are 2 different verbs/meanings and you used them correctly!
October 23, 2018
2 separate verbs but can be confusing: To lie - e.g. I like to lie down in the mornings. Yesterday I lay down. Can I lie down here? Yesterday I lay down on the bed. infinitive = to lie, past participal = lay To lay - I like to lay the table with knives & forks. Yesterday I laid the book on the table. infinitive = to lay, past participal = laid If it makes you feel any better, many native English speakers get these confused as well!
October 23, 2018
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Language Skills
Bengali, English, German, Hindi, Marathi, Spanish
Learning Language
English, German, Spanish