Tag: grammar

Lie and Lay

LAY: to put down; needs an object (transitive)
LIE: to recline; never takes an object (intransitive)

For example, when you feel tired at the end of the day, you may LIE down. But you can’t “lie” a book anywhere, and you can’t “lay” down (no object) at the end of the day. But you can LAY a book on the table, LAY a sweater on the bed, or LAY a child in her cradle.

A problem with LIE and LAY arises because the word LAY appears in both word forms. Here’s a handy graphic:

You can see how you might get confused if you don’t memorize at least one the forms or don’t remember how the words function (object or no object). Until you get better at it, sometimes you just have to stop and break it down:

*The past tense of LIE is LAY so:
ex: “The pig lay in the mud after yesterday’s rainstorm.”
*The past tense of LAY is LAID, so:
ex: “Last week, I laid the TPS report on your desk.”
*The past participle of LIE is LAIN, so:
ex: “The pig has lain in the mud for hours.”
*The past participle of LAY is LAID, so:
ex: “I have laid the TPS report on your desk.”

The difference between LAY and LIE is important. It ultimately has to do with whether or not your verb is transitive (takes an object) or intransitive (no object). If you can’t remember which is which, try to remember the root TRANS. It’s like “transport” or “transfer,” moving something (an object!).

Another way to remember is that LIE is Intransitive because both have the letter “I“.

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Capital and Capitol

CAPITAL: an adjective, meaning several things such as: 
“upper case” (as in a capital “C”)
“punishable by death”
“chief in importance”

CAPITAL: a noun, meaning:
“a town or seat that is the seat of state government”
“wealth in the form of money or property”


CAPITOL: a noun, meaning:
“a building in which a state legislative body meets”
“the building in which the United States Congress meets in Washington” (This particular use of the word word is ALWAYS capitalized.)


For example, “My daughter wrote her name on the wall using large CAPITAL letters.”
For example, “The serial killer might face CAPITAL punishment.”
For example, ““He overlooks the CAPITAL importance of criticism in the work of creation itself.” ~ T.S. Eliot
For example, “The CAPITAL of Cameroon is Yaoundé.”
For example, “They want to raise some extra CAPITAL for their start-up, so they are crowdfunding.”
For example, “The House of Delegates meets at the state capitol building.”
For example, “The Capitol is the main building of the United States Congress.”


Memory tricks:
Capitol has an O like dOme
CapitAl has A lot of meanings

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Subordinating Conjunctions

A subordinating conjunction provides a necessary transition between two ideas in a sentence; one is the main/independent clause and one is the dependent (subordinate) clause. Here are 50 of them to help you.

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