Lay, lie, laid...

Joined
Jun 19, 2018
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Nirvāṇa
#1
I'm simply not understanding examples of usage as it applies to this portion of a sentence. Is 'lay' correct, or is it lied/laid/lie, etc.?;

...to step over and around the thousands (of people) that simply lay down in the middle of the street, filling...

Thanks for your help!

K2
 
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Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA
#2
I'm not 100% sure exactly what meaning and tense you are trying to convey.

I may have to complete your sentence fully to show you what I mean.

If you just want to convey the fact that there are lots of dead (or whatever) folks in the street:

Present tense narration:

"She has to step over and around the thousands that lie in the middle of the street, filling the city."

or:

Past tense narration:

"She had to step over and around the thousands that lay in the middle of the street, filling the city."

(Note that in these cases I have removed "simply" and "down" as not needed.)

If you want to tell us what the people did before the character arrives:

"She had to step over and around the thousands that had simply laid themselves in the middle of the street, filling the city with their dead bodies."

(Note that you need the object "themselves" to go with the verb "laid" in this case. If you want a verb without an object, I would change it to something like "simply collapsed in the middle of the street.")
 
Joined
Jun 19, 2018
Messages
488
Location
Nirvāṇa
#3
Thank you @Victoria Silverwolf for the detailed response. Sorry for not being clear. In a nutshell, the populace sleeps on the streets due to that portion of the city being so densely populated. The character has entered that area at night while they're sleeping.

Thanks again!

K2
 

tinkerdan

candycane shrimp
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x(squared)+y(squared)=r(squared) : when x~infinity
#4
When you have no direct object then--people lie down .
When you have and object such as a book-- people lay their book down.
That's present tense.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
People lie down--present.
People lay down-- past.
People had lain down--past participle.


People lay their book down--present.
People laid their book down --past.
People had laid their book down--past participle.
 

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