Buck's English: There's some trouble with lie

Gene Owens: Lay, lie, subside, subsidiary, Buck sets it straight.
BY GENE OWENS, For The Oklahoman Published: December 29, 2013
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Bonita Warren, of Stillwater, keeps a close eye on grammar and usage in the Swayback Daily Kick and dropped off a few goofs when she stopped by Curly's Soonerco.

In one story about an execution, she read that the condemned man “lie motionless on the gurney.”

“Lie” and “lay” give lots of writers fits because “lay,” in addition to being a transitive verb in the present tense, is also the past tense of the intransitive verb “lie.” The condemned man lay on the gurney. After his execution, he was laid to rest in his grave. You lay a book on the table and afterward it lies there. Buck sometimes takes a break from haying and lies down in the straw. Once he lay there for a couple of hours and figured he had lain there long enough.

Bonita also spotted the sentence “There's two ways to go.”

Grammarians are a little vague on whether “there” is a pronoun or an expletive in this context (an expletive is word or phrase that contributes no meaning but is added only to fill out a sentence). But whatever you call it, “there” clearly refers to “two ways.” So Buck would insist on “There are two ways to go.”



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