Letters to the Editor

Lay and lie

It’s not usually very deep in the day before you hear that first cringe-worthy abuse of the English language. Before nightfall, you’ll be saturated with grammatical abominations.

Besides the usual double negatives, the “you knows,” “we was,” “me and him” as subjects and “he and I” as objects, the most aggravating error to me is the confusion of the verbs lie and lay; lie meaning to be in the prone position and lay to put something down. Educated and noneducated alike misuse the two, and I can guarantee you will even hear that misuse on television or in movie dialogue.

When someone says, “I’m going to go lay down,” I get this picture in my head of that person spreading duck feathers on a flat surface. When someone says, “The cat is laying on the kitchen floor,” I want to rush to the little critter’s side, pick him up, remove the egg it’s laid and is warming and rush it to the Guinness or Ripley folks.

Admittedly, to the lay person, English is a confusing language, and that’s no lie.

Tom Bauer, Morro Bay

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