Dec 08

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Problem words # 2 – Lie and Lay Explained & Interactive Quiz

These words are easily confused, so let’s quickly revise them and see how they differ in meaning. After that, take a short, interactive quiz to practice using the words in context.

Level: B2 and above

Language focus: grammar, verbs in context

TIP: It’s a good idea to print out this page for future reference & practice.


Now do a short quiz to help you remember everything about LAY AND LIE!

Ready? You have 2 minutes to answer 6 questions! Good luck!



1) LIE, LAY, LAIN (verb) = 

(said of a person) to put yourself in a flat position, for example on a bed or on the ground 

(of a thing) to be in a flat position,

(of an idea) to exist


He was so tired from working all night that he was lying in bed fast asleep all day.

Your room is a mess, your dirty clothes are lying all over the place.

This small town lies near Paris.

The problem lies in the fact that the newspaper reported false data.



lie low = try not to attract attention

They decided to lie low until people forgot about them.


2) LIE, LIED, LIED (verb) = to say (or write) something that you know is not true


She always lies about her age.


LIE (noun) = something someone said or wrote that is not true

If you are telling a lie, I will know.



lie through one’s teeth = say something that is not true, to lie

Don’t believe anything she ever tells you, she‘s lying through her teeth.


a white lie = a harmless, small lie

I think everyone tells a white lie on occasion.


3) LAY, LAID LAID (verb) = to put someone or something in a flat position


Sam laid the baby down on the bed.

They laid the foundation of future cooperation.

The painters laid newspapers on the floor before they started to work.



lay eggs = animals that lay eggs produce eggs and their young hatch from them

Insects and fish lay eggs just like hens.


the lay of the land = the way a situation is now and the way it is likely to develop in the future

This is a huge company so understanding the lay of the land may take longer than you think.


buy something on layaway = buying goods in a store where the buyer only pays part of the price and the store keeps the article for him/her until the full price is paid

See when we buy something on layaway, we make payments over time, but your toy will stay in the store until you finish paying for it.





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