Should your patient lay or lie?
If your nervous patient is clutching his jacket to his chest and you need to listen to his heart, then you’re going to tell him:
Please lay your jacket on the chair.
When using lay, there has to be a thing to put or place somewhere.
If you need to examine your patient’s abdomen, then you’d say:
Please lie on the bed.
Lie is to recline in a horizontal position and focuses on the person.
He lays his jacket on the chair.
He lies on the bed.
But there’s more room for confusion because the past form of lie is lay:
He laid his jacket on the chair 10 minutes ago.
He lay on the bed 10 minutes ago.
Meaning you have to learn: lay, laid versus lie, lay.
Their other forms are:
He’d laid his jacket on the chair when he felt a sudden stab of pain.
He’d lain on the bed when he felt a sudden stab of pain.
He’s laying his jacket on the chair when he feels a sudden stab of pain.
He’s lying on the bed when he feels a sudden stab of pain.
And when your patient promises you that she’s stopped eating doughnuts but you can see the crumbs on her sweater, then you could be very direct and not very polite and say:
There’s no need to lie.
Luckily, lie meaning to fib or tell un untruth is regular: lie/s, lied, lied plus lying.
The best way to make lay/s, laid, laid, laying and lie/s, lay, lain, lying stick is to invent your own model sentences to memorise.
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