Grammar Be Difficult

This is more for my own reference than anyone else’s reading this. I tend to get snagged when I’m hitting that sweet typing spot and there’s a simple grammar issue of which I’m unsure of a rule governing it, and I have to stop and think of technicalities instead of letting the words flow. Usually I just end up typing a note (I use Jer’s Novel Writing software, but that is a post for another time), which makes it super easy to insert notes for future reference, but the fact that I need to detour my mind-traffic (they don’t travel very easily for me) is a bugger.

There’s two issues that always trip me, and I can never quite remember the rules. Until now. The first is who/whom, the other is lie/lay.

I will leave it to other sites to go into the technical details, but I wrote one kind of awkward, vaguely sexualized sentence that traps both of these cretinous little insects, Ralph Macchio-style:

Who lays whom, then Who lies itself.

In short, a “who” acts and a “whom” is being acted upon. An actor “lays” things (wink nudge), and something passively “lies” by being placed by an actor. Usually it’s inanimate objects that are “laid”, but you can lay people, as in: “The satisfied zombie laid the brainless doctor onto the gurney.” Sorry for making the prurience a little bit more intense with that one.

That sentence is only for the present tense, mind you; conjugated forms will require something else. If one can stick all of that, along with the “there/they’re/their” atrocity into one grand unified sentence or some kind of stanza, Stephen Hawking will find himself blushing with infatuation.

Share this post: