Hint: when you tell someone to “lay low” you are using a past tense verb where the present tense should serve as the command. Yes, it is supposed to be “lie low.”

The fact that we heard it as “lay low” in the Br’er Rabbit tales shouldn’t confuse us. After all, most tales are narrated in the past tense.

Some day I hope to hear somebody say this right.

Maybe then I can die in peace. Upon which somebody will lay my body low. (Notice the transitive property. “Lie” is the intransitive verb with a past tense of “lay”; “lay” is the transitive verb with a past tense of “laid” — the many other meanings, of course, confuse us.)

Advertisements