Monday, January 24, 2011

Grammar Geek Tutorial: lie/lay/laid

I had a couple of requests for an explanation of lay/laid/lie.  Just in case there are any other closet grammar freaks or geeks out there, here you go. 

Disclaimer:  I don't formally know much about grammar--I just have a pretty good (read: not perfect) instinct for it.  This also means I don't know the names for things (participles, perfect tense, etc.).  Please feel free to leave any input.

In this instance, we're dealing with two different concepts:  the act of putting an object down and the act of reclining.  

Lay: To set down an object

  • Present tense:  Lay the cookies on the table.
  • Past tense:  Yesterday, I laid the cookies on the table.

Lie: To rest or recline

  • Present tense: I think I'll eat a cookie and go lie down.
  • Past tense:  I lay down yesterday after eating five cookies. (*note: the past tense is not "laid."  To help yourself remember, think of "laid an egg": eggs are not laid by people)
  • Crazy past tense:  I had lain down to recover from a stomachache, just as I have lain in the past.  (But let's be honest--who talks like that?)

So, to sum up, the past tense of lay is laid: used when talking about objects.  The past tense of lie is lay: used when talking about reclining.  The tricky thing about these forms, obviously, is the dual use of lay.

Try thinking of it this way: lay is an action word, lie is a resting word (e.g. "lying around").  Or, to rephrase, once you lay (put) something down, it lies (rests/reclines) there.

Need something else to chew on?  "Laid," often mistakenly substituted for "lay,"  is also frequently misspelled "layed."  "Layed" is not actually a word.

Practice if you care, don't fret if you don't--99% of people won't even notice.   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Questions You Need Answered

Awhile back, my friend Beth "tagged" me in one of those blog things.  I'm not feeling particularly clever today, but felt like I should post something, and I like Beth's questions, so... here you go.  

1) Do you have a favorite number?
I should, considering how nerdy I am about numbers (I inherited that from my mom).  I like even numbers.  It's alternated between 4, 6, 8, and 14.  I just can't commit.

2) Did you have a childhood comfort object, like a blankie or teddy bear? Tell us about it.

A blankie (made by my paternal grandma) and a stuffed polar bear named Snuffles.  I loved them dearly.  I used to rub the blankie "fuzzies" on my lips while I fell asleep and give Snuffles haircuts around his eyes so he could see better.

3) Did you ever wish your parents had named you something other than the name you have?

I never really thought about my name until recently.  My mom and I were talking the other day about how it's an 80's "fad name" and that in another 40 years "Lindsay" will be synonymous with "old woman" (much like Doris and Ethel are today).  If I had to pick a name for myself, I'm not sure what it would be--probably something traditional and feminine.  I like my name.  Besides, I'm sorta named after Lindsay Wagner, the Bionic Woman.  Cool, right?

4) Did you ever wish you could become a fictional character in a book or movie? Who?

Oh, did I ever.  All the time.  As a young woman, I would have chosen Anne Shirley in a heartbeat--her life just seemed so beautiful.  Or maybe Jo March (though she ended up marrying that old ugly professor.  Ick.).  Or Elizabeth Bennett.  

5) Did you ever wish you could date/marry a fictional character from a book or movie? Who?

Mr. Darcy in the A&E P&P makes me swoon.  I liked Laurie in Little Women.  Jonas in The Giver.  Casper in the movie Casper (the last 2 minutes of the movie where he's a "real boy."  My cousins and I used to rewind that and watch it several times because we thought he was so dreamy.  If you needed any more proof that I'm a dork, well, there it is).

6) What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen camel?

Egyptian or European?

7) To how many places have you memorized pi? 

3.141592.  My mom is a numbers nerd.  I can go to 6; I know she's got it to at least 10.  

8) What, in your opinion, is the most foul smell known to humankind?

It's a toss-up.  Poop.  Our sink if we haven't run the disposal in awhile.  Fermented things.  Beer (which I suppose falls under the previous category).  Cigarette/cigar/marijuana smoke (in order of ascending nastiness).

This is the part where I'm supposed to "tag" a few more people and come up with my own questions, but I can't bring myself to single anyone out because I have some kind of undiagnosed social anxiety issues.  But if you want to answer Beth's questions, please do, and then link up back here!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Today, I honor Dr. King, who did just as much for whites as he did for blacks.  

Because I don't want my children growing up in a world where there is 
segregation and racism, either.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Vent.

There are some things that make me cranky.  

(Maybe more than some things.)

Seems like it wasn't too long ago that I would ride the waves of my passionate opinions until they crashed me into the shore.  And, okay, maybe I still do sometimes.  But not like I used to.  (Really!  I've mellowed!)  I'm working to bridle my passions, and I think I'm much more chill than I used to be.  

But this whole Arizona shooting thing has had me seething.  First, can I just say what a horrible, devastating, senseless tragedy it is.  My heart aches for the families of those who were injured or killed.  

Second, the gunman was completely, dangerously insane; a man who had no real agenda or cause he was advocating.  He was clearly his own agent and clearly crazy.  

So why, in a time when this country should be wrapping its arms around this grieving community, these injured individuals, these suffering families, are politicians and the media so consumed with a completely petty and baseless blame game?  Is nothing sacred anymore?  Do they not realize that the entire country is sitting back and looking on in disgust as they shamelessly use someone else's tragedy to further their own empty political agendas?  

As far as I can tell, Jared Loughner had no political affiliation.  He was a registered independent.  He was did not identify with either conservative or liberal views.  

So what's with the personal attacks?  We're expected to believe that somehow an obscure two year old campaign graphic is to blame for this heinous crime?  That the word "target" or a crosshairs icon pushed this guy over the edge?  Why were these claims not immediately dismissed and called out for what they were: a cheap trick, slanderous mudslinging, completely baseless, outrageous, utterly ridiculous?

I'm disgusted.  It should never have been given air time.  And politicians need a lesson in tact.  There is a time and place for lobbying.  This is not it.