Lay lady lay…

I saw this 1981 cartoon strip in a local newspaper the other day and was quite tickled by it…

Cartoon 1

Cartoon 2

Cartoon 3

…and talking about lying in bed brings to mind this favourite song of many, originally by the Australian group, Air Supply…

I’m not particularly fond of the song myself and I would often chuckle at the opening lines that go like this:
I’m lying alone with my head on the phone,
thinking of you till it hurts
and I would think to myself, “Of course it would hurt, you silly man! Who asked you to go and lie on the hard telephone?” LOL!!!

But actually, that isn’t my main concern in this post. What I am always puzzled about is how the students over the years seem to be confused between the verbs, “lie” and “lay“. I guess everybody knows that the present participle of “to lie” (in bed, for instance)  is “lying” and the past tense form is “lay“.

On the other hand, there may be a few definitions of the verb “to lay” and one of them would be to “lay” as in “laying” eggs and the past tense form is “laid“.

Now, what I simply cannot understand is why year in, year out, I would see students writing sentences like: “I laid in my bed…” or “I was laying in my bed…” and I would ask them, “What are you laying in your bed? Eggs?” If they were isolated cases with only a few students once in a blue moon, I would not be so perturbed by it but there have been simply too many that I can’t help but wonder whether there are teachers out there teaching them the wrong thing…and the error has fossilised to such an extent that they keep writing that no matter what I tell them and no matter how much remedial work I give.

But looking on the bright side, I guess I can heave a huge sigh of relief considering that no student has ever written: “I got laid in bed.”

Have a great weekend, everybody…