Is ‘Laying in My Bed’ Correct? Exploring Common English Mistakes

Understanding the use of lie and lay in sentences, especially when it comes to their application in everyday language can be quite tricky. Knowing when to use these terms correctly can make a difference in clarity when communicating in English.

Defining Lie and Lay

The verb lie is an intransitive verb that means “to be or put oneself in a reclined position”. Its gerund form is lying. On the other hand, lay is a transitive verb which means “to put something or someone else in a horizontal position”.

Its gerund form is laying. The difference is primarily based on the presence or absence of a direct object.


Proper Use

    • Lie: You lie in bed because you’re tired. Lie does not have a direct object.
    • Lay: You need to lay the book on the table. Lay is acting upon the book, which is the direct object.

Mistakes and Common Misconceptions

A common error in usage comes from the past tense of ‘lie’, which is ‘lay’. This causes confusion as ‘lay’ is also used in the present tense meaning ‘to place’. It’s important to note that you cannot simply ‘lay’, you need to have something to lay, like an object.

Books and apple


    • Incorrect: I am going to lay in bed.
    • Correct: I am going to lie in bed.
    • Correct: I am lying in bed.

In Bed vs On Bed

When it comes to using ‘in’ or ‘on’ while referring to bed, both can be correct depending on the context. Sitting or lying ‘in’ bed typically means that you are under the covers. Conversely, sitting or lying ‘on’ the bed usually means that you are on top of the bed but not under the covers.



Mastery of ‘lie’ and ‘lay’ can be challenging even for native English speakers. The key is understanding that ‘lie’ means to recline and does not need a direct object, while ‘lay’ means to place something and requires a direct object. So, when it’s time for sleep or relaxation, remember you ‘lie’ in bed, you don’t ‘lay’.

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