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sagehen sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM
Mon Jan 31 18:35:51 UTC 2005

>NYT Magazine Jjanuary 30, 2005  p.76, col.2
>"... bamboo poles _lain_ over ... crud ..."
>instead of
>"... bamboo poles _laid_ over ... crud ..."
Total confusion over the inflexions of /to lie/ and /to lay/ is the order
of the day.
The contemporary writer, for instance, who will boldly use "laid" for the
preterit of /lay/ is rarer than those who feebly use "lay."
The boo-boo with "lain" above is a rarity in itself, since even the
existence of /lain/ is nearly unknown, nowadays, nevermind attaching it to
the right verb.
Factors such as being rudely corrected by persons like me; the sexual
connotations of /laid/; embedded tropes like "Now I lay me....."; and the
"lay of the land", probably add to the confusion.  I very much doubt that
the old paradigms will ever become firmly reestablished.  I wish I didn't
find it so irritating. Perhaps I should, like the White Queen, practice
believing impossible  things before breakfast each day. (It might help in
swallowing the world news, too.)
A. Murie

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