Posted in Writing

Wednesday Word Workshop: Lie, Lay, Lain, and Laid


If you are like me, this is the reason that I’m constantly throwing my hands up in the air. I can’t keep these words straight. Those little green squigglies (in Microsoft Word that like to highlight the fact that I don’t know how to use these words) make it worse. So I finally decided to look it up. Let me share this knowledge with you so you won’t feel like a complete dunce when you’re trying to write a romantic scene in your next book.

The difference is basically this: you lay something down, however people lie down by themselves. That’s not so hard right? That is how it works in the present tense.

Okay, past tense. This is where it gets more confusing.

The past tense of lie is lay.

The past tense of lay is laid.

The past participle of lie is lain.

The past participle of lay is laid.

Make sense? Let’s try it one more time:

I would like to lie down.

He lay down in the grass.


I would like to lay down my head.

I laid my head down on a pillow last night.

Something like this takes practice. I suggest that you write them down on a Post-It note and place it on your work desk. You could also use a notebook for your commonly misspelled or misused words and phrases.

Then reward yourself with more coffee. Don’t worry. We both got through it. Here, let me put some Kahlua in your mug first.

If you have any questions or clarifications, either e-mail us at or write it down in the comments sections below.

Happy writing, everyone!

Love, Joy



I'm Jocelyn DeVore - writer, reader, student for life, daughter, friend, artist, nerd, movie lover, avid coffee drinker, obsessive reader, and girl.

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