2.02.2007

Not lay

What's wrong with the quote below?

Firefighter: I saw him laying facedown
Firefighter saves 8-year-old -- the 2nd rescue of his career

When Chicago firefighter John O'Brien got to him, 8-year-old Max Crawford was in a heap on the floor at the end of his bed, his little nose black with soot. He was barely breathing.

"I [saw] him laying facedown on the carpet," said O'Brien, who crawled through thick smoke in an early Friday morning fire on the West Side to find Max, who was wearing his PJs.

It's the verb: lay. I often hear people say, "I need to lay down." I want to ask, "Lay down what?" because "lay" is supposed to take an object. The correct word is "lie", as in, "I'm so tired, I need to lie down." So the firefighter should have said, "I saw him lying facedown." But he was too busy being a hero, saving someone's life to worry about grammar :)

(seen in a Sun-Times article)

8 comments:

Lilly said...

We have the same difference in Danish between the two verbs:

lægge
[the moving of an object]

AND

ligge
[the continuous non-movement of an object].

It really bugs me when people don't use these verbs correctly. The same goes for

sætte

AND

sidde

mj said...

Cool--what do saette and sidde mean?

Lilly said...

Sætte: it involves activity and an object -- like the act of sitting down, or you can 'sit' something on a table, the floor, or whatever. The English equivalent would probably be 'put'.

Sidde: is when you're sitting down, no movement involved.

mj said...

Cool...one of the benefits of "knowing" someone in another country :)

Anonymous said...

What about, "I need to get laid"? Would my wife lay with me or lie with me? If we lied together, would that make us Democrats?

-- Some Corporate type from a major Airline

mj said...

No...if you lay together...on some comfy Airline seats...

Wanderin'Gav said...

Doesn't answer the question of what max was doing wearing the fire-fighter's PJs...Sounds like he was pretty determined to get them back!

;o)

mj said...

Tee hee...thanks for visiting :)