I really do. But I’m a writer, and also an editor, so of course I am. A person mistaking the difference between loose and lose can cause me to loose my shit in public. If they also don’t know the difference between their and they’re in there own language, well, I cannot be blamed for planting a word processor between they’re eyes with deadly force. Their, I’ve said it. If one more person claims to have found a way to reign in the political opposition, I’ll strangle him with a pair of bridle reins. Which I shall not purchase at a bridal shop. In the rain.
And yet it seems I’m as befuddled by my own language as anybody else. This came up as the result of a conversation on the way home to the Gulch Friday evening.
We had just set out and the dogs hadn’t settled down yet. “Little Bear, lie down!” Landlady said. The car continued to rock on its springs until I said, “Little Bear, go lay down!” Which is the command he’s used to hearing.
“What’s the difference between ‘lay down’ and ‘lie down?'” she said after a moment. “Because on some forum I read, some fool went on and on about the difference but I don’t remember what it was supposed to be.”
“I dunno,” I said. “I think it’s just a regional thing. I’ve heard ‘lay down’ all my life. As far as I know, they’re synonymous.”
Well. Of course now it bothered me. So I just now looked it up. And technically it seems her way is right and my way is … less right.
Lying down is intransitive (sentence does not take an object). Laying down is transitive (it requires an object).
The protesters were lying down in front of the entrance.
The carpenter was laying down the flooring when the earthquake occurred.
Hey, I claim long usage. Squatter’s rights, as it were. I’m gonna go ahead and keep telling LB to “go lay down,” because I’m old and have long mastered the fine art of hypocrisy.
Anyway, English is weird.