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Re: [BKARTS] lie/lay(was "paper")



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of
Jennybean
> But what if it is laid paper?
By now that has become an adjective. I think it originally referred to
the mould use to make the paper, where the screen was formed by laying
rigid wires side-by-side with only a few very light cross-wires or
threads to stabilize the assembly. The wires had been "laid" so the
thing become known as a "laid mould", the paper as "laid paper", and the
watermark-like lines left in the paper by the wires as "laid lines".

> >Animate or not is not the point. "lie" as in to be flat, is 
> >intransitive, which means it cannot ever take a direct object. "lay,"
> >as in to cause to be flat, is transitive, which means it MUST ALWAYS 
> >take a direct object. So paper can lie on the desk but you lay paper 
> >there. You cannot lie a brick just as you cannot lay down 
> (unless you 
> >proceed to lay someTHING down).
> >
> >The problem is exacerbated by the fact that that past tense 
> of LIE is 
> >LAY and the past tense of LAY is LAID. So yesterday you LAY 
> on the bed 
> >to rest but you LAID your paper on the desk first.
> >
> >Grammatically yours,
> >Meg Miller
This is the same distinction that some have referred to as
animate/inanimate. To "lie" represents more of an ongoing state of the
verb's subject being horizontal with no implication of when or how this
state began, whereas to "lay" very definitely represents the transitory
action of the verb's subject placing the verb's direct object
horizontally. The first case can be termed "inanimate" or "passive"
because the verb in no way implies that anything is actually moving; the
second case is very much "animate" or "active" because the verb implies
that the object is being moved into a specific position). The
[in]transitive nature of the verbs is merely a consequence of the number
of things involved in the clause.

Although there are many verbs whose intransitive form *can* have a
passive meaning most also have a related intransitive active meaning (a
mountain "rises" passively but the sun "rises" actively). I'm actually
having trouble naming more of these purely inanimate verbs. The obvious
one "to be" has its own special grammatical baggage which makes "it is
I" the correct form rather than "it is me". Others that come to mind are
"to jut", "to protrude", "to stick out/up/into", "to excel" which
strangely all have the same general sense of being somehow prominent.
Maybe that's just because my brain is in a rut this morning.
-Kevin Martin
 the Papertrail 

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