“Lay, Lady, Lay.”

Selfie with dead bird

Selfie with dead bird.

“Lay across my big brass bed.”

The Bob Dylan song encapsulates the entrenched American muddle around “lie” and “lay.” The victory of “lay” is all but complete.

It’s obvious the song invites the lady to sexual congress, not to a nap. The third iteration drives home the corrupt overlay of “lie” with “lay.”

I lay this particular muddle at the door of an old bedtime prayer: “Now I lay me down to sleep.” The prayer is phrased correctly, but convincing someone that it’s technically not kosher to say “lay down to sleep,” omitting the reflexive pronoun, is as hard as enlightening a climate change denier on a cold day.

So it goes. The living language has a mind of its own. Popular solecism trumps stodgy  correctitude. When certain of us lie down for our last sleep, this now-picayune rule will lay down with us.

Selfie with spilt rum

Selfie with spilt rum.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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