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Pedants' corner

Who still reclines grammatically?

26 replies

MangosteenSoda · 27/11/2015 21:35

Since joining Mumsnet I've noticed that there are a lot of threads and posts about reclining.

Nearly 100% of people lay down, have a lay-in and talk about when they were laying down.

Is this a thing now? Has language changed in the 13 years I've been out of the UK? When I'm back home, will people look at me like I've emerged from a time capsule if I mention wanting a lie-in? What's going on?

OP posts:
whatdoIget · 27/11/2015 21:37

I lie in. I'm middle aged though so that's probably why. Or is having a lay in a regional thing maybe?

steppemum · 27/11/2015 21:37

lie in and lie down are certainly how they are said.
But how they are written is another matter!

I am battling with my kids at the moment trying to get rid of 'sat' as in - I was sat there.
no, you were sitting there.

They look at me blankly because their teachers all say it.

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark · 28/11/2015 07:05

It's one which a lot of people get wrong. I wonder if, eventually, as language evolves, the two verbs will become indistinct.

SiegeofEnnis · 28/11/2015 07:09

I lie in, and lie down, and lay the table. But am a foreigner - is the UK usage of 'lay' for 'lie' regional? Ditto 'I was sat down'?

chantico · 28/11/2015 07:12

In pedants' corner, I don't think you'll find many people who lay down unless they add the reflexive pronoun (ie referring to the action of becoming recumbent).

It's not standard English, but is widespread dialect.

confusedandemployed · 28/11/2015 07:12

I lie in. Or rather, I don't lie in

TurnOffTheTv · 28/11/2015 07:12

I don't know anybody who says lay-in instead of lie-in, so maybe it is regional? I'm in the North East.

ThumbWitchesAbroad · 28/11/2015 07:21

Lie = active verb BUT its past tense is lay.
So I lie on the bed now, but last night I lay on my bed. OR, I was lain on my bed (but I am now lying on my bed)

lay = transitive verb, requires an object to be laid down. is quite good.

ThumbWitchesAbroad · 28/11/2015 07:21

But yes, if you were laying on your bed, you were probably dropping eggs somewhere. Grin

ThumbWitchesAbroad · 28/11/2015 07:23

And yes, I know all you pedants will already know all that, but occasionally non-pedants wander in and ask, so it's already there for them :)

soulsurfer · 28/11/2015 07:29

The thing that really annoys me is people who don't understand the difference between sat and sitting!

Lucymatilde · 28/11/2015 07:29

Relevant Strawbs hit of the 70s if anyone else remembers: "Lay down, I lay me down..."

My pet hate is "I should of" for I should have or correctly shortened to I should've.

And "Can I get" as in "Can I get a latte" rather than "Can I have" or better still "May I have".

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark · 28/11/2015 08:04

to lie- intransitive verb, past tense of which is lay- hence the problem for many.
to lay- as Thumb says, is intransitive. Needs an object.

So you can say "I lay down on my bed yesterday" but to use it in the present when you mean "on the bed" (or anywhere else) is wrong.

The reason why people get it wrong is the past tense of "lie" being the same as the present tense of "lay".

SSargassoSea · 28/11/2015 08:07

My adult DCs say 'Can I get ' to the waitress when choosing from a menu Grrrrrrr.

'May I have' they refuse to say - i'm pretty sure it's an Americanism.

Lucymatilde has just said this oops.

YokoUhOh · 28/11/2015 08:09

I've complained about this before on MN and NOBODY has come to my aid! I didn't have a LIE-in this morning (DS up at 5am).

Can I just use this opportunity to swerve off-topic and complain about excited 'for'? 'I'm excited for Saturday!'. Who is Saturday?

ThenLaterWhenItGotDark · 28/11/2015 08:09

I think "Can I get..." will become more and more common. Although I would have the urge to reply to someone (especially in a Starbucks type scenario) "I'd prefer it if you let the person trained to operate the coffee machine do it for you, actually" as "get" gives the idea of the "getter" being the person who is speaking.

mercifulTehlu · 28/11/2015 08:20

Quite right - lie-in, not lay-in . And yes, 'excited for' is annoying too. I feel a bit of a hypocrite, as I've just been on a thread about regional dialect, saying how much I love the variation and how we should stop pearl-clutching about it. But I think the 'lay-in' thing is just wrong, not regional.

claraschu · 28/11/2015 08:25

Family of 5- none of us says lay when we mean lie.

MangosteenSoda · 28/11/2015 08:32

Yes Thumbs, I always imagine people laying eggs on their beds/sofas!

I've never heard anyone say lay instead of lie in RL, but see it all over the place on MN.

OP posts:
BoxofSnails · 28/11/2015 08:41

When my DD was around 3-4, she used to think I was wanting a large zoo animal "Mummy really like lie-ins" - I imagine a lay-in as the ducks version of a sit-in where they all go and lay their eggs in protest - to what, who knows, maybe that prices are failing to rise in line with inflation.

I've heard it used in the spoken form locally (Scouse) but our regional dialect doesn't half mangle the English language.

MrsHathaway · 28/11/2015 08:55

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
And just forget the world?

Subjunctive plus correct verb: [swoon]

DreamingOfThruxtons · 28/11/2015 09:03

'Can I get...[object]...please' is also regional to Scotland, or at least the parts of it I know well- so not an Americanism here, at least.

'Lay' just makes me think of that children's prayer that begins 'As I lay me down to sleep' (I think).

SanityClause · 28/11/2015 09:03

I'm lying-in, as I type.

But, there are some MN-isms that you never hear in RL. Indie school for one. So maybe some posters assume that lay-in is the correct MN term?

Shodan · 28/11/2015 09:27

It's not a new thing- Miss Read makes a point about it a couple of times in her books and the last of hers were written at least twenty-five years ago.

And, of course, there's Layezee, the bed company. Angry Still, anything that makes the laying of eggs easier must be a good thing, I suppose Grin

momb · 28/11/2015 09:34

I am up but not yet dressed. DH is having a lie-in.
I think that lay down has come from rhyme and song, for example:

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

Lay down Sally.

I do think that it will become part of the language though, as it is so widely used now.

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