I’m lying (or is it laying?)

I haven’t thought about the difference between lie, lay, laid, lain since high school English class, but in writing a bit of story the other day I used ‘lay’ [correctly it turns out], but it didn’t sound right. So to be sure, I did a search and found a brilliant, brief explanation from Encyclopaedia Brittanica. I’ll paraphrase but all credit to them …

First of all, when I say ‘lie’ I mean lie as in ‘lie down’ not tell a falsehood. 

Simply put, use ‘lie’ when it is an action with no object. It’s something you do yourself, in other words. For example:

“I always lie down after lunch for a nap.”

“She lies down to reach beneath the sofa.”

“They lie down together to mediate.”

On the other hand, use ‘lay’ when you take action in regards to an object. For example:

“Put down the book and lay it on the table before answering the door.”

All the above examples are in the present tense, but some confusion arises when we consider the past tense. Why? Because ‘lay’ is the past tense of ‘lie’! For example:

“After lunch, I lay down for a nap.”

But ‘laid’ is the past tense of ‘lay’, so …

“She laid the book on the table before answering the door.”

So what about ‘lain’? That is the past participle tense of lie. You would use it this way:

“I had lain on the sofa much longer than I intended.”

The past participle of lay is still ‘laid’ so it would be used this way:

“She had laid the book on the table before answering the door.”

And just to finish things off, the present participle tense of ‘lie’ is ‘lying’ and for ‘lay’ it is ‘laying’. They would each be used this way:

“I am lying down for a nap after lunch.”

“She is laying the book on the table before she answers the door.”

I hope this was helpful! Happy writing and productive editing! I’m going to lie down now….

I plead insanity …

How long has it been?!? I have been an atrocious blogger the last several weeks, maybe months. And I’ve been terrible at reading, visiting and commenting at all your lovely blogs as well. But now its a new year, time for new goals and getting back to business. I promise to visit everyone soon!

I finished up 2019 by doing a lot of reading. I tackled some heavy hitters this year and fell one short of meeting my GoodReads challenge of 30 books. Still, considering the weight of some of the material I covered, it’s a pretty good show. I tackled The Divine Comedy with notes, The Tragedy of the Templars: The Rise and Fall of the Crusader States, The Art of Memory, The Stranger, The Plague and One Hundred Years Of Solitude, just to name a few.

The second half 2019 was insane, there’s no other way to put it. I’m in a new country, new house, finding new friends and my way around unfamiliar territory, physically, mentally and emotionally. But it’s good. It really is.

The move consumed a lot of time and energy and it prevented me from writing and posting here on the blog. That changes now. I am back to writing this week. I have an editing project to work on and another one possibly after that. The very act of working on writing, even though it’s someone else’s material, has given me the inspiration to get started on my own work again.

So this year, I’ll be sharing more of my World War One research, updates on the historical novel, bits and pieces of writing advice/mistakes, and an occasional piece of art. I’m not going to try any challenges this year, though. That became a bit of a burden last year. I am going to try and keep any artwork that I do relevant to my historical work. For example, characters I encounter in research or events set during the Great War.

I hope you all are well and that 2020 is off to a good start. Happy writing and productive editing!

What’s ‘that’ all about?

Adventures in editing. [Revisiting this and that]

One of the words we writers tend to overuse is the word ‘that’. If you don’t believe me, use your search/find option in your word processor’s editing tool and see how many times you find it in your work. Obviously, it is sometimes appropriate to use ‘that’ in your sentences, but other times it can be eliminated. Here’s an example:

“I think that this gives you a chance to start over,” Vince said. 

It’s not grammatically incorrect, but it isn’t necessary, either. Instead, say:

“I think this gives you a chance to start over,” Vince said.

Here’s another example:

He arranged to add his name to the multi-business sign that graced the front lawn at the office building, and bought paint to cover the walls of his new space.

In this instance, ‘that’ should be replaced with ‘which’ (…which graced the front lawn…) but it sounds even better when written like this:

He arranged to add his name to the multi-business sign gracing the front lawn at the office building, and bought paint to cover the walls of his new space.

When I did a search for ‘that’ in Three Empty Frames, I found 806 of them!!! I’m in the process of finding all those ‘thats’ and eliminating or replacing them.