Mirror image

Erik Hoover grinchy at GRINCHY.COM
Mon Jan 31 19:06:34 UTC 2005

Does lie/lay confusion derive in part from overcorrection?

"As I have heard a man say ... his Wife was not to be beleev'd, for she
would lye like a Dogge; marry, (quoth the other) I would give twelve
pence to see that trick, for I have seene a Dogge to lye with his Nose
in his Tayle."  - John Taylor "A Dogge of Warre" (1630)

On Jan 31, 2005, at 1:35 PM, sagehen wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       sagehen <sagehen at WESTELCOM.COM>
> Subject:      Re: Mirror image
> -----------------------------------------------------------------------
> --------
>> 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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