Usage of lie


Given the following sentence: "Hopefully, the annotated screenshot illustrates where my confusion lay."


Remark/Note: I'm thinking that this usage is using lay as a noun, meaning the position or manner in which something is situated. Is this correct?

lay asked Apr 02 '13 at 20:06 Bruce Pitcock New member

1 answer


I can understand your confusion, Bruce. Your sentence is interesting in its usage. 'Lay' is a verb in this dependent clause. Moving the words around points this out. My confusion lies (or lay) where?.  But there are other questions that this sentence raises.

Should it be past or present tense?

If your confusion has been resolved, then it is past tense. If your confusion remains, then the present tense is more appropriate. Let's go with present tense.


Next, should the root of the verb be 'lie' or 'lay'? I lie down, but I lay the pencil down. Since the confusion acts of its own accord, 'lie', since confusion is singular, 'lies' would be my choice for this.


Hopefully, the annotated screenshot illustrates where my confusion lies.


If you opt for past tense, then 'lay' would be the choice.

link comment answered Apr 02 '13 at 21:23 Lewis Neidhardt Grammarly Fellow

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