Lying Around or Laying Around | Laying Vs Lying

lying around or laying around | Laying Vs Lying

Lying Around or Laying Around | Laying Vs Lying

Laying and lying are both used when referring to the position of one’s body, but they don’t mean the same thing. Laying refers to the action taking place, while lying refers to the state of being.

For example, you can lay something down and lay on something such as a bed. In contrast, you cannot lie on a table, though you may be able to lie beside it on the floor or even on top of it, in which case lying would be appropriate.

What is the difference between lie and lay?

The words lie and lay often confused because they sound identical and are homophones. Lie means to recline, while lay means to place something down.

Knowing the difference between these two words is essential to use them properly. There are a few common mistakes that people make when using these words. For example, one mistake people make is saying I’m going to lay on the couch when they mean I’m going to lie on the couch.

Another common mistake that people make is confusing lay and lie. They say things like he lied instead of he laid or vice versa. In those cases, it is better to say: He lied instead of he laid, or He lied there instead of He laid there.

You can tell what the speaker meant when you see a sentence with either lay or lie. However, the differences between these two words are only sometimes apparent at first glance, so be sure to pay close attention to how each word is used throughout your day-to-day life.

Is it lying around or laying around?

The word lie is an intransitive verb, which means it needs a direct object. The word lay is a transitive verb, which means it needs both a direct object and a preposition.

In the sentence I want to lay down, lay takes the place of a lie. It’s all in the difference between transitivity and intransitivity.

The difference between lying and lying down:Pexels Ron Lach 10602132

  • 1) To lie is to recline, bend, or stretch out. 
  • 2) To lay is to put, place, or set something somewhere. 
  • 3) The past tense of lay is laid; the past participle of a lie has lain.

There is a subtle but essential distinction in meaning regarding the verbs lie and lay. They both mean to tell an untruth, but one means to make a flat horizontal surface while the other means to place. 

The correct form is nearby. The students are sprawled out on the grass.

You lie down, but you also lay something. A direct object is not required for a lie. However, a direct object is required for lay.

The same rule applies to lying and laying (not lying—watch your spelling). So the past tense of lay is laid, but there are two options for the past tense of lie. We’ll get to them later.

Knowing what the words mean is different from knowing how to use them. Here are a few more guidelines to help you. In the present tense, lay is frequently used with a direct object.

Lie, on the other hand, cannot take a direct object. Return to the examples to see these rules in action.

There’s one more thing you should know. When discussing reclining, the past tense of lie is lay!

How do you use each word correctly?

There are many different uses for the words lay and lie. These two verbs can be confusing because of their similar meanings.

The difference between these two verbs is whether or not someone is resting on an object or surface.

If you lay something down, you rest it on a surface. If you lie down, you rest your body on a surface. In other words, when people lie, they are prone, while when they lay, they are more upright.

So next time you’re wondering which word to use, try to figure out if there’s an object being rested on: if so, then use lay; if not, then use lie.

Take care with your spelling! Not lying is the present participle of the lie. Then I transform into a Y: lying. Here’s a mnemonic from the website Primility to help you distinguish between laying and lying:

“When you tell an untruth, it is a lie, not a lay; and when you are in the process of telling an untruth, it is a lie, not a lay.”

What are some common mistakes people make with these words?

The most common mistake people make with these words is confusing lay as the past tense of lie, meaning to recline and lie as the past tense of lay, meaning to set something down.

People will often say they will lie down when they mean that they will lie down. Other times people will use lay instead of a lie to sound fancy and literary.

There is even a word called lye! Lye is used in soap making and cooking because it’s fundamental.  

The lie is the past tense of lie (as in to tell an untruth). As seen, a past tense of lie is laid, while the past tense of lay is also laid, which is a recipe for confusion!

How do you remember the correct word?

One way to remember the difference between lie and lay is to use the word lie when talking about someone who is not sitting.

You may have heard the expression, to lie down, which means to recline, such as on a sofa. However, the word lay is used when you are talking about putting something upright, like a book on a table.

Another critical difference is that we usually use lay with past participles of verbs (such as laid). In contrast, we generally use lie with present participles (such as lying).

We often confuse the two words because they sound similar, but these simple tricks will help! For example, a lie is more commonly used when describing reclining positions.

For example, he was lying on the couch reading. Lay is more commonly used when moving objects from one place to another.

For example, she laid the dishes in the cabinet. She wanted to lay some magazines out by her bedside before bedtime.

I’m going to go lay down so I’ll see you later. He lay down and fell asleep in his chair. She laid the books next to each other on the desk.

She goes over the details of their plans and lays them all out neatly for him to look over. It feels perfect to just lay down after a long day.

The words “laying” and “lying” are so similar in sound and meaning that they can be used interchangeably. But here’s what they all mean.

Some of the most arcane grammar rules in English are provided by similar-but-not-identical pairs of words.

There are homophones, words that sound the same but are spelled differently and have different meanings. Then some words have two different spellings for the same word, such as “grey” vs. “grey.”

Then there are word pairs like “laying” vs. “lying.” Again, they sound almost identical and mean nearly the same thing.

Both “laying” and “lying” are present participles of the verb “lay,” “laying” of the verb “lay,” and “lying” of the verb “lie.” 

According to the dictionary, “lay” means “to put or place in a horizontal position or position of rest; set down.” “Lie” means “being horizontal, recumbent, or prostrate.” At first glance, they could mean the same thing.

The difference is that “lying” does not always take a direct object, whereas “laying” always does.

We’re not going to focus on the definition involving not telling the truth because you won’t find people confusing that with “lying”! “Lying” can also refer to “taking a horizontal position.”

You can “lye” down and “lye” on a futon. “Lying” can also refer to something that is already horizontal. This can apply to both people and inanimate objects. So, when you say you’re “laying” down because you’re tired, you may be misusing one of the words.

Aside from their similar spellings and sounds, the main difference between “laying” and “lying” is that they both refer to something in a horizontal position.

The main difference is that “lying” does not require an object, whereas “laying” does. “Laying” means to place something in this position. So you’re not just “laying” down; you’re laying down something. This is also the term used to describe birds that lay eggs.

Examples are:

  • I want to lie next to him in the dark and watch him breathe and sleep, wondering what he’s dreaming about, without developing an inferiority complex if the dreams aren’t about me.
  • The only creature that consumes without producing is the man. This is because he does not produce milk, lays eggs, is too weak to pull the plough, and cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits.


The difference between “lying” and “laying” is that when you lie, the verb is used in the past tense, while when you lay, the verb is used in the present tense. The context of each situation can determine which one you use as well.

For example, if you describe an animal sleeping on its side, it would be appropriate to say they are lying down. However, if you are describing someone who has fallen asleep on their couch watching TV, it would be more accurate to say they have laid down.


Which is correct laying or lying?

Although you lay down, you also lay something down. There is no need for a direct object with lie. Lay needs an immediate object. The same principle holds true for both laying and lying (not lying; watch your spelling).

What does lying around mean?

: to lazily spend time relaxing. She did nothing but lounge around all day. By the pool, my pals and I were relaxing.

Is it laying or lying on the couch?

Is it lying on the couch or just lounging there? In a similar way, you are lying on your couch when you are in the horizontal posture. “Lying” is the proper present participle to describe your state at that time because the sofa is a more-or-less level surface for you to lie on.

Is it lay around or lie around?

It’s common for people to say lay when they really mean lie, yet lying around is bad. You must lay something, anything; if you wish, lay an egg. But you’re free to lounge around till the cows arrive! The fundamental distinction between lay and lie is that whereas lie doesn’t require a direct object, lay does.