Help me with my sentence please.


I lie there, not taking my gaze away from the ceiling. Is this sentence and the use of the word gaze in it okay?

2 answers


The sentence is fine, but I’m not sure if gaze is the word you are looking for.  On, gaze (as a noun) is defined as “a steady or intent look.”  As a verb, it adds that this look is “with great curiosity, interest, pleasure, or wonder.”  Most people don’t look at the ceiling in that way, unless there is something unusual up there.     

link comment answered Jan 16 '13 at 22:16 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

I agree with Patty but I do wonder about the verb tense.  Unless you are writing a poem or some other literary text, shouldn't lie be in the past tense?  I had to look it up because this is a particularly confusing grammar point, but the past tense of lie (in the sense of being down, or being or becoming horizontal) is lay.


Most people who look at the ceiling from a horizontal position, such as lying in bed, are thinking about other things.  Unless there is\was something interesting up there, as Patty suggests, I would suggest the following:


I lay there, mindlessly staring at the ceiling.

link answered Jan 17 '13 at 14:41 Shawn Mooney Expert

It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings of my long-departed grandfather who, when he would see my grandmother (still kicking at 94) lying about in bed late on a weekend morning, would say "I don't know how you have the strength to lie there."

Shawn MooneyJan 17 '13 at 14:45

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