RAMBLINGS FROM THE DAZED & CONFUSED
Two of the words (verbs in this case) that most often confuse writers, and I include myself here, are ‘LAY’ and ‘LIE’. After much trawling through the interwebs and reading many articles on LAY versus LIE I discovered some to be helpful, and some just downright confusing. So I decided to put this article together in the hope it helps other writers.
So let’s start with the present tense:
All you need to remember here is that ‘LAY’ means to put down. You would lay a book on the table, just as a bricklayer would lay bricks.
‘LIE’ on the other hand, means to recline. You would lie on the bed, or your cat would lie in the sun all day if it could.
Now, a number of the articles I came across stated that ‘LAY’ must refer to an object, while ‘LIE’ cannot refer to an object.
But surely a cat is an object and he would lie not lay—hmmm.
So how about we say LAY refers to the action of putting something down, books on the table, rugs on the floor, while LIE refers to the act of reclining to have a sleep, or a nap.
Well, unfortunately, no… The reason for this is because everything goes all kinds of cranky when we use the past tense or past participle.
Because ‘LAY’ is the past tense of ‘LIE’, it is not ‘LIED’. ‘LIED’ is used solely for the past-tense of ‘LIE’ as in telling porkie pies, untruths, fibs, etc.
And to make matters worse, the past participle of ‘LIE’ sounds more like it should correspond to ‘LAY’.
Told you it was crazy…
I looked long and hard at LAY and LIE and racked my brains to see if I could come up with some sort of mnemonic. The only things I could think of was pLAYce, and that chickens LAY eggs. Lame eh? Maybe you can find something better or come up with your own mnemonic.
Now let’s look at the tricky bit, how to conjugate these two verbs:
The past tense of ‘lie’ is ‘lay’
Paul lay down on the floor for an hour as his back hurt from doing too much in the gym.
The dog lay down in front of the fire all evening.
The past tense of ‘lay’ is ‘laid’.
The contractor laid the new carpet (object) in the lounge this morning.
Alex laid the plates (object) on the table.
The past participle of ‘lie’ is ‘lain’.
Paul has lain on the floor for an hour.
The dog has lain in front of the fire all evening.
The past participle of ‘lay’ is ‘laid’.
The contractor has laid the new carpet (object) in the lounge.
Alex has laid the plates (object) on the table.
The present participle of ‘lay’ is ‘laying’.
The contractor is laying the new carpet (object) in the lounge.
Alex is laying the plates (object) on the table.
The present participle of ‘lie’ is ‘lying’.
Paul is lying on the floor.
The dog is lying in front of the fire.
If it’s of any help, here’s a table to print out and put somewhere handy.
|VERB||PRESENT TENSE||PAST TENSE||PAST PARTICIPLE||PRESENT PARTICIPLE|
Click to download
April 16th 2017
Between States 2 cover artwork official release…
Rough Image and Sean Catt are pleased to announce the official launch of the cover artwork for Between States 2 (Into a Darker Place), the sequel to Between States, Sean Catt’s debut novel of the shapeshifter series of stories featuring cougar shapeshifter Jake Palmer and wolf shapeshifter Billy Thompson.
Following on from his highly acclaimed cover design for Between States, Brighton based graphic artist Rhys Wootton has managed to surpass himself with yet another visually stunning piece of artwork for the next installment of the Between States series.
The dark brooding nature of Rhys’s cover design not only reflects the book’s storyline but also contains numerous symbols taken from the story, such as it’s depiction of the New Mexico desert, and the mysterious silhouetted portrayal of one of the characters.
The retention of the United States flag, this time worked into the desert night sky, and the title text block style from the first book, help maintain series branding (something that will be reflected in the artwork of all further books in the series).
Today’s writing tip post is not about me showcasing my Photoshop skills (more about that in a while). No, it’s all about building lifelike character backgrounds. Having characters that your readers can relate to is vital, as it helps to ground the story thus making it more believable.
First and foremost, when developing a new character I use a character reference sheet (the one I use, can be found in the media>downloads section of this website) to build up the background of my principle character(s). Reference sheets really do allow you to put flesh on the bones of your characters. Have a look at mine and you will see what I mean, and if you like it use it (it’s free, and free is good), tell your friends about it, shout it from the rooftops!
I thought I would start posting up a writing tip every couple of weeks. Most of these I have either been taught at school, college or university, picked up from tutorials and books, or simply found trawling the shadowy depths of the interwebs. But they are all useful, and things I use all the time in my writing.
So without further ado, here is Tip #1
Order of Adjectives
When we put more than one adjective into a sentence in order to modify a noun, we instinctively put the adjectives in a specific order in sentences to avoid the sentence sounding odd and clunky to us.
This means that ‘the big, red rocket’ sounds so much better than ‘the red, big rocket’.
When we put more than one adjective before a noun, the adjectives are normally (but not always) placed in a particular order as shown below, this is called the ‘Order of Adjectives’.
I have started to add some free writers resources on the site.
Just click on the Media menu and go to ‘Downloads’.
At the moment I have uploaded:
Male and Female name lists,
a character reference sheet to help you build up your character’s backgrounds (don’t forget to do a family tree for your main characters) and,
a British English to American English comparison dictionary.
Please feel free to modify to suit your own needs.
It would be great if you could let me know of any missing comparisons in the UK-USA Dictionary so I can add them to mine. 🙂
I will be adding more useful resources for writers as and when I get time.
The download icon shows the type of file:
Adobe Acrobat file
MS Word or Open Document file
Everything in the downloads area is free for you to use and modify.
In line with the Creative Commons license, I would simply ask that if you redistribute anything, you acknowledge where you obtained the original resource material from (with a link to my website), and not claim it as your own.