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lay / lie

This is the technical difference between lay and lie:

You lay an object onto a surface.
  • Could you lay those mats on the floor, please?
  • She laid the books on the table.
  • The workers are laying the carpet in the new building.

    Again, you lay an object onto a surface. But a person/thing lies (itself) on the surface:
  • There was a package lying on my doorstep.
  • The clothes are lying all over the floor.

    For a person, to lie + a preposition of place means to put yourself horizontally on a surface:
  • I'm feeling sick. I need to lie down.
  • She's lying on a towel on the beach.

    Now... to complicate matters - the past tense of lie is lay!

    Present Continuous Past Past Participle

    LAY LAYING LAID LAID

    LIE LYING LAY LAIN

    Also, native English speakers often say "I need to lay down" and "She's laying on a towel on the beach." - even though it's incorrect!

    To summarize:
  • You lay an object on a surface.

    We laid the flowers on the grave.
  • You lie (yourself) on a surface.

    He's just lying there on the couch watching TV.
  • An object lies on a surface.

    There was an abandoned bicycle lying on the sidewalk.

    This lesson refers to the meaning of "lie" as an object lying on a surface. There's another meaning for "lie": to say something that isn't true. In this case, the past and past participle would be lied and lied:
  • The little boy ate the cookies, then lied and said his sister had eaten them.
  • I trust her completely; she has never lied to me.

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    1. a / an / one
    2. able / capable
    3. accident / incident
    4. accurate / exact / precise
    5. ache / pain / hurt
    6. actual / current / present
    7. administrator / boss / manager
    8. adverse / averse
    9. advice / advise
    10. affect / effect
    11. afraid / scared / frightened
    12. after / later
    13. agenda / itinerary / schedule
    14. ago / back / before
    15. aid / assist / help
    16. aim / goal / objective
    17. alien / foreigner / stranger
    18. alive / life / live
    19. all / whole / every
    20. all of / each of
    21. all ready / already / all right / alright
    22. allow / let / permit
    23. allude / elude
    24. almost / mostly / nearly
    25. alone / lonely / only
    26. already / yet
    27. also / as well / too
    28. altar / alter
    29. although / though / even though
    30. among / between
    31. amoral / immoral
    32. amount / number / quantity
    33. ancient / antique
    34. angry / upset
    35. another / other / others
    36. answer / reply / respond
    37. any / some
    38. apartment / flat / studio
    39. apologize / sorry
    40. apology / excuse
    41. appraise / apprise
    42. arrive / come / get / reach
    43. as far as / as long as / as soon as
    44. assure / ensure / insure
    45. automobile / car / vehicle
    46. await / wait / hope / expect
    47. award / reward / prize
    48. awkward / embarrassing
    49. baggage / luggage
    50. beach / coast / shore
    51. beautiful / pretty
    52. become / get / turn
    53. been / gone
    54. before / in front of / opposite / across from
    55. beg / plead
    56. begin / start
    57. belong to / belong with / belong in
    58. below / under / beneath / underneath
    59. beside / besides
    60. big / large
    61. big / small / long / short / tall / huge / tiny
    62. bill / invoice / receipt
    63. blanket / comforter / quilt
    64. borrow / lend / loan / owe
    65. bother / disturb
    66. bravery / courage
    67. bring / take
    68. bring up / grow up
    69. Britain / England / the United Kingdom
    70. broad / wide
    71. by / until
    72. can / could / able to
    73. capital / capitol
    74. carpet / mat / rug
    75. ceiling / roof
    76. chance / possibility / opportunity
    77. change / switch
    78. chauffeur / driver
    79. city / downtown / town
    80. classic / classical
    81. clever / intelligent / smart
    82. close / shut
    83. close to / near / next to
    84. cloth / clothes / clothing
    85. collect / gather
    86. come back / go back / get back
    87. compliment / complement
    88. concern / concerned / concerning
    89. confident / confidant / confidence
    90. continually / continuously
    91. convince / persuade
    92. could / should / would
    93. council / counsel
    94. critic / critical / criticism / critique
    95. cure / treat / heal / recover
    96. custom / habit
    97. deadly / fatal / lethal
    98. decent / descent / dissent
    99. decline / deny / refuse / reject
    100. defect / fault / flaw
    101. definitely / definitively
    102. delay / late / postpone
    103. despite / in spite of
    104. die / died / dead
    105. difficult / hard
    106. dilemma / quandary
    107. dinner / supper / meal / snack
    108. dirt / earth / soil
    109. dirty / messy
    110. disability / handicap / impairment
    111. discover / find out / notice / realize
    112. discreet / discrete
    113. disease / illness
    114. disinterested / uninterested
    115. distinct / distinctive
    116. do / make
    117. dress / dressed / wear
    118. during / while / meanwhile / meantime
    119. e.g. / i.e.
    120. early / soon
    121. earn / gain / win
    122. economic / economical
    123. effective / efficient
    124. either / neither
    125. electric / electrical / electronic
    126. empathy / sympathy
    127. employees / staff
    128. end / finish
    129. enough / too
    130. enquire / inquire
    131. especially / specially
    132. every day / everyday
    133. ex- / former / previous
    134. explore / exploit
    135. extend / expand
    136. famous / infamous
    137. farther / further
    138. fee / fare / tax
    139. female / feminine / woman
    140. few / little / less / fewer
    141. fit / match / suit
    142. floor / ground
    143. for / since
    144. forest / jungle / wood / woods
    145. fun / funny
    146. girl / lady / woman
    147. good / well
    148. good evening / good night
    149. gratuity / tip
    150. guarantee / warranty
    151. gut / guts
    152. hard / hardly
    153. have / have got
    154. have to / must / need to
    155. haven't / don't have
    156. hear / listen
    157. hijack / kidnap
    158. historic / historical
    159. holiday / vacation
    160. hope / wish
    161. hopefully / thankfully
    162. hostel / hotel / motel
    163. house / home
    164. how about...? / what about...?
    165. human / humankind / human being / man / mankind
    166. hundred / hundreds
    167. I / my / me / mine / myself
    168. I = subject
    169. if / whether
    170. If I was... / If I were...
    171. ignore / neglect
    172. ill / sick
    173. impending / pending
    174. imply / infer
    175. in / into / inside / within
    176. in / on / at
    177. incite / insight
    178. income / salary / wage
    179. Indian / indigenous / Native American
    180. inhabit / live / reside
    181. intend / tend
    182. interested / interesting
    183. interfere / intervene
    184. its / it's
    185. job / work / career
    186. just / only
    187. kinds / types / sorts
    188. know / meet
    189. last / latest
    190. last / past
    191. late / lately
    192. lay / lie
    193. like / as
    194. little / small
    195. look / see / watch
    196. lose / loose
    197. lose / miss
    198. made of / made from
    199. marriage / married / wedding
    200. may / might
    201. moral / morale
    202. Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. / Miss
    203. music / song
    204. nausea / nauseous / queasy
    205. north / northern
    206. notable / noticeable
    207. ocean / sea / lake / pond
    208. oppress / suppress / repress
    209. overtake / take over
    210. pass away / pass out
    211. pass the time / spend time
    212. peak / pique
    213. persons / peoples
    214. poison / venom
    215. politics / policy
    216. poor / pore / pour
    217. pray / prey
    218. principal / principle
    219. problem / trouble
    220. quiet / silent
    221. raise / rise / arise
    222. regard / regards / regardless
    223. regretful / regrettable
    224. relation / relationship
    225. remember / remind / reminder
    226. replace / substitute
    227. resolve / solve
    228. review / revise
    229. rob / thief / steal
    230. safety / security
    231. sale / sell
    232. say / tell / speak
    233. scream / shout
    234. sensible / sensitive
    235. shade / shadow
    236. so / such
    237. so / very / a lot
    238. some time / sometime / sometimes
    239. stuff / things
    240. such as / as such
    241. suppose / supposed to
    242. then / than
    243. think about / think of
    244. tide / waves
    245. till / until
    246. to / for
    247. too / very
    248. travel / trip / journey
    249. United
    250. wake / awake / sleep / asleep
    251. wander / wonder
    252. wary / weary
    253. what / which
    254. which / that
    255. who / whom
    256. will / would
    257. worse / worst
    258. year-old / years old
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  • Simple Science

    Chemicals as Food Preservatives

    Chemicals as Disinfectants and Preservatives:
    The spoiling of meats and soups, and the souring of milk and preserves, are due to germs which, like those producing disease, can be destroyed by heat and by chemicals.

    Milk heated to the boiling point does not sour readily, and successful canning consists in cooking fruits and vegetables until all the germs are killed, and then sealing the cans so that germs from outside cannot find entrance and undo the work of the canner.

    Some dealers and manufacturers have learned that certain chemicals will act as food preservatives, and hence they have replaced the safe method of careful canning by the quicker and simpler plan of adding chemicals to food. Catchup, sauces, and jellies are now frequently preserved in this way. But the chemicals which destroy bacteria frequently injure the consumer as well. And so much harm has been done by food preservatives that the pure food laws require that cans and bottles contain a labeled statement of the kind and quantity of chemicals used.

    Even milk is not exempt, but is doctored to prevent souring, the preservative most generally used by milk dealers being formaldehyde. The vast quantity of milk consumed by young and old, sick and well, makes the use of formaldehyde a serious menace to health, because no constitution can endure the injury done by the constant use of preservatives.

    The most popular and widely used preservatives of meats are borax and boric acid. These chemicals not only arrest decay, but partially restore to old and bad meat the appearance of freshness; in this way unscrupulous dealers are able to sell to the public in one form or other meats which may have undergone partial decomposition; sausage frequently contains partially decomposed meat, restored as it were by chemicals.

    In jams and catchups there is abundant opportunity for preservatives; badly or partially decayed fruits are sometimes disinfected and used as the basis of foods sold by so-called good dealers. Benzoate of soda, and salicylic acid are the chemicals most widely employed for this purpose, with coal-tar dyes to simulate the natural color of the fruit.

    Many of the cheap candies sold by street venders are not fit for consumption, since they are not only made of bad material, but are frequently in addition given a light dipping in varnish as a protection against the decaying influences of the atmosphere.

    The only wise preservatives are those long known and employed by our ancestors; salt, vinegar, and spices are all food preservatives, but they are at the same time substances which in small amounts are not injurious to the body. Smoked herring and salted mackerel are chemically preserved foods, but they are none the less safe and digestible.


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