Loyola University Maryland

Lay that burden down

One of the readers of yesterday’s post on the increasingly rapid decay of whom in general usage asked the inevitable question: “What's your thinking on lie/lay?”

From direct experience over more than two decades with undergraduates in Loyola University Maryland’s Communication Department, I can tell you that students do not hear the distinction, even the smart ones. It is not a part of their idiolects, in which the past tense and past participle of lie, “to recline,” are laid. Some of them can, with difficulty, be coerced into briefly maintaining the...