I recently started taking a crazy fitness class at my gym. I like the instructor, but I secretly think he may be trying to kill us! I spend most of the class praying for it to be over, keeping one eye on the clock while trying not to fall off the medicine ball, or out of my plank, or messing up some equally torturous position.
When the time to catch our breath and stretch finally comes, I’m always thrilled. However, I often have a hard time relaxing right away because the instructor makes the same error every class: He says “Lay down on your backs,” and it makes me cringe. (My yoga instructors often make this same mistake.)
I’m not going point out my instructor’s error to him because he’s not a writer. But I know this one can be a head scratcher even for writers, so I thought it was worth explaining in my blog:
You LAY something else down. You LIE yourself down.
In the present tense, here are some examples:
In the past tense, things get a little tricky. You LAID something else down. You LAY yourself down.
In the present perfect and past perfect tenses, you HAVE LAID or HAD LAID something else down. You HAVE LAIN or HAD LAIN yourself down.
I realize this can be confusing! But like all grammar, it’s also important. So lay down your pen and think about it before you put anything in ink.
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