Laid vs Layed – Differentiating The Two Words
Last Updated on January 27, 2021 by Ephraim Iyodo
The word ‘laid’ is the past tense of ‘lay’. ‘Layed was once the most common spelling of ‘laid’, but it has fallen out of use. Now, only ‘laid’ is used.
“Laid” and “layed” are often confused, especially for people who are not familiar with the language, because one looks more natural to use than the other.
The difference, however, is that while they once meant the same thing, one word is no longer used as a word.
The word “laid” is past tense and the past participle of the word “lay”. The word “lay” most often means to put something down, either figuratively or metaphorically. It can mean to put something on the surface.
“He laid the book on the table.”
It can mean to create or prepare something.
“The architects laid out the blueprints for the building.”
It is especially common in the phrase “lay an egg,” which means “to create an egg.” The word has also become associated with betting.
“She laid a bet on the first car entering the race.”
“I’ll lay odds that they will win the football match.”
In this case, “bet” is a slang term for placing a bet.
“Layed” is a more complicated story. It is no longer an appropriate word. It is considered archaic. That is, it can still be used when someone is trying to create a sense of old-time, but no one uses it outside of that.
Many English words have several meanings, and the verb “lie down” is no exception. When you say that John put the paper on the table, you mean that he put it there.
When you say that a group of criminals laid out a plan to rob a bank, you mean that they prepared or created it. The verb can also be related to betting: if you say that Hazel laid a bet on the horse that was last in all the previous races, you mean that she made the bet. Finally, the hen may also have laid an egg.
However, no matter what the verb means in your sentence, the past tense will always be laid.
You can only use put if you are describing a period of time several centuries ago, and you need an appropriate vocabulary to create the right mood. If this is not the case and your writing is entirely in modern English, stick to the vocabulary.
Especially if English is not your first language, naturally you want to keep things simple and keep as many verbs regular as possible.
So you might think or hope that “lay” is one of those regular verbs that only needs -ed to turn into the past tense form, and that lie should be the correct spelling.
However, think about the other short verbs that end in -y and actually differ from lay by one letter, i.e., pay and say. The past tenses of these verbs are paid and said. That is exactly what happens to the word “lay”.