Lie down or Lay down: Which one is Correct?

Lie down” and “lay down” are both correct grammatical phrases of the English language that are used in different contexts. This question is basically related to the different uses of “lie down” and “lay down”.

Lie down or lay down: which is correct?

List of Homophones | Homophones Exa...
List of Homophones | Homophones Examples

It will be wrong to just say that “lie down” is correct and “lay down” is incorrect. Both the phrases can stand correct depending on what someone is trying to convey. We use “lie down” when we are not using a direct object. But we use “lay down” when we have a direct object that the word is acting upon.

Simply put, “lie” is intransitive and does not require a direct object to perform on. On the other hand, lay is a transitive verb that will always require a direct object. That basically means that you lie down but lay something down. “Lay” is used when we put something on a flat surface. But “lie” is used when something is already in a position or can move itself.

For example:

  • I want to lie down on the sofa. (Intransitive)
  • Can you lay down your phone when you are with us? (Transitive; direct object-phone)
  • I think she wants to lie down. (Intransitive)
  • Please, lay down the book on the table. (Transitive; direct object-book)

The only confusion between the two phrases that can occur is when their past forms are used. The past tense of lay is laid, but the past tense of lie is lay. So, “lie down” and “lay down” can also be the present and past forms of the same thing.

Final words

Lay down” and “lie down” are both correct phrases. It will depend on the context whether its usage is correct or not.

Leave a Comment