When To Use Laid vs. Layed (With Practical Examples)

Grammar can be a complex and sometimes frustrating subject, especially when it comes to words that sound similar but have different meanings. Understanding the correct usage of “laid” and “layed” is essential for effective communication in both spoken and written language.

Although “layed” is an extremely popular variant spelling of the past tense of transitive “lay,” and “laid”, the traditional spelling in all contexts, these two words can be tricky to differentiate, leading to common grammatical errors.

In this blog post, we’ll break down the differences between “laid” and “layed” with easy-to-understand examples. Whether you’re a grammar enthusiast looking to enhance your knowledge or just someone wanting to improve their writing skills, this guide will provide you with the clarity you need to use these words confidently. Let’s dive in and demystify the confusion surrounding “laid” versus “layed.”

What Does ‘Laid’ Mean?

“Laid” is the past tense and past participle form of the verb “lay,” which means to put or place something down flatly or gently. It is used when referring to an action that has already been completed.

The verb “to lay” is one of many English words that can have multiple meanings. You imply that John placed the newspaper there when you say he “laid” it on the table.

Another good example is the phrase “a group of criminals laid out a plan” which refers to the preparation or creation of the bank heist. This verb can also refer to wagers; for example, if you state that Hazel bet on the horse that finished last in every prior race, you are actually saying that she wagered. Lastly, it’s possible that a hen also deposited an egg.

Nevertheless, the past tense will always be laid no matter which meaning this verb takes in your sentence.

Here are some examples of how “laid” is used:

  • She laid the blanket on the bed.
  • The mason laid the bricks carefully.
  • The table was laid with fine china for the dinner party.

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What Does ‘Layed’ Mean?

“Layed” is an archaic word in contemporary English. The correct past tense and past participle form of “lay” is “laid.” 

You can only use layed if you’re talking about a period a few centuries ago, and you need the appropriate vocabulary to create the required mood. If this is not the case and your writing is done completely in modern English, stick to laid.

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The Main Differences: Layed vs. Laid

Since both are different forms of the same word and mean exactly the same thing, Laid is the standard Past indefinite and participle form of Lay and Layed is its archaic version. Both are theoretically acceptable in English, but most people prefer LAID, so it is always safer to opt for it. 

LAID is the past tense of the verb “to lay” which usually means “to set something down”

The word ‘layed’ is not found in all dictionaries.

Comparison Table

The comparison table is added to help differentiate between these two confusing terms. Let’s compare Laid and Layed side by side –

Pronunciation (IPA)/leɪd//leɪd/
Parts of SpeechVerbVerb
Base formLayLay
TensePast Indefinite, Past ParticiplePast Indefinite, Past Participle
Meaningto put something downto put something down

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Layed vs. Laid Examples

Example 1:

  • CorrectShe laid the napkin on her lap before starting to eat.
  • Incorrect: She layed the napkin on her lap before starting to eat.

Example 2:

  • CorrectThe hen has laid six eggs this week.
  • Incorrect: The hen has layed six eggs this week.

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Example 3:

  • CorrectThey laid the carpet in the living room yesterday.
  • Incorrect: They layed the carpet in the living room yesterday.

Example 4:

  • CorrectThe workers laid the foundation for the new church building.
  • Incorrect: The workers layed the foundation for the new church building.

Example 5:

  • CorrectHe laid his keys on the table in the sitting room.
  • Incorrect: He layed his keys on the table in the sitting room.

FAQs On When To Use Laid vs. Layed

What is the correct past tense of ‘to lay’?

You can use laid as the past tense of ‘to lay’. For example, you might say, “Yesterday, you laid the Bible on the table.”

Is the word ‘layed’ still in use?

No, ‘layed’ is not correct in modern English. It’s an archaic spelling that is rarely used, so always stick with laid.

How do you use ‘laid’ in a sentence?

When you wish to say that something was put down, use the word “laid.” “You have laid your keys on the dresser.”

What is the past participle of ‘to lay’?

The past participle of ‘to lay’ is also laid. You would use it in perfect tenses, like “You have laid the groundwork for your project.”


With the few examples given on the words, ‘laid and layed’, it’s obvious that the latter word is obsolete and no longer in use. However, it’s still recognized as one of the old soldiers of English grammar.


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