Browse Definitions :

Has lain or has laid?

Writing for Business

Which is correct?
The United States has ____ out plans to standardize domestic smart grid development.
a. lain
b. laid


Answer: b.

Explanation:
Here are the rules for lie and lay:

LIE first person third person
present I lie in bed. She lies in bed.
past I lay in bed. She lay in bed.
perfect form I have lain in bed. She has lain in bed.
participle form I am lying in bed. She is lying in bed.

——-

LAY first person third person
present I lay the book down. She lays the book down.
past I laid the book down. She laid the book down.
perfect form I have laid the book down. She has laid the book down.
participle form I am laying the book down She is laying the book down.

Grammar Girl Mignon Fogarty lays out the rules for “lay” and “lie” and reports on yet another multiple-rock star grammar fail:

What’s that I hear, music in the background? I know I don’t normally play music, but I love Eric Clapton, and his song Lay Down Sally can actually help you remember the difference between lay and lie… [record screeching sound] because he’s wrong.

To say “lay down Sally” would imply that someone should grab Sally and lay her down. If he wanted Sally to rest in his arms on her own, the correct line would be “lie down Sally.”

We don’t have to judge Clapton on his grammar; we can still love his music and at the same time know that it’s grammatically incorrect! In fact, that helps us remember, and we can love him more.

If you’re more of a Bob Dylan fan, you can remember that “Lay Lady Lay” is also wrong. The lyrics should be “Lie lady lie, lie across my big brass bed.”

The moral of our story is: “Enjoy the music, kids, but don’t look to rock icons — not even the biggest ones — for your grammar lessons.”

 Follow us on Twitter @tao_of_grammar

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