Word-Song 3: Lay and Lie

Don’t feel bad if you cannot remember the difference between lay and lie. You are not alone. Lay is to put or set down, and lie is to assume a horizontal position. Here are some songs to remind you of proper usage.

“Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar” was made famous by the Delmore Brothers. Alton and Rabon Delmore hailed from Alabama and were regulars on the Grand Old Opry in the 1930s. The song uses lay correctly. (Actually, the expression lay down has its own meanings, but we won’t get into those here.) You can listen to the song by clicking here.

Bob Dylan wrote the anthemic “Lay Down Your Weary Tune,” which uses lay correctly, but he also wrote “Lay Lady Lay,” which does not. To be correct, it should be sung like so:

Lie, lady, lie. Lie across your big brass bed.

And yes, that's what I sing to remember the difference.