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Commonly Confused Verbs

Summary:

This handout contains a list and discussion of common irregular verbs.

LIE versus LAY

Lie vs. Lay usage
PresentPastPast Participle
lie, lying (to tell a falsehood) I lied to my mother. I have lied under oath.
lie, lying (to recline) I lay on the bed because I was tired. He has lain in the grass.
lay, laying (to put, place) I laid the baby in her cradle. We have laid the dishes on the table.

Example sentences:

After laying down his weapon, the soldier lay down to sleep.

Will you lay out my clothes while I lie down to rest?

SIT versus SET

Sit vs. Set usage
PresentPastPast Participle
sit (to be seated or come to resting position) I sat in my favorite chair. You have sat there for three hours.
set (to put or place) I set my glass on the table. She has set her books on my desk again.

Example sentences:

Let's set the table before we sit down to rest.

RISE versus RAISE

Rise vs. Raise usage
PresentPastPast Participle
rise (steady or customary upward movement) The balloon rose into the air. He has risen to a position of power.
raise (to cause to rise) They raised their hands because they knew the answer. I have raised the curtain many times.

Example sentences:

The boy raised the flag just before the sun rose.
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Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.