Lay of the land or lie of the land?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by rich7, Nov 20, 2006.

  1. rich7 Senior Member

    caracas
    Venezuela español
    Why? in case the answer is "lie" just because the word "layout"...?????
     
  2. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    The lie of the land :tick: (it can be used literally or metaphorically)
    The lay of the land :cross:
     
  3. fenixpollo

    fenixpollo Mod Chicken

    Arizona
    American English
    In the US, it's the opposite:
    the lay of the land :tick:
    the lie of the land :cross:

    I don't think it's necessarily related to "layout". It has to do with how "lay" and "lie" are used... but please don't ask me to get into that confusing topic. :rolleyes:
     
  4. Neever

    Neever Senior Member

    Madrid
    Ireland
    I don't use this phrase, but both sound equally correct to my ear? The "lay of the land" might even sound a little more natural. I am not sure from a grammatical point of view though...
     
  5. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The lie of the land :cross:
    The lay of the land :tick:(it can be used literally or metaphorically)

    Well, in practice both are used.
    Lay still has the larger following.

    OED
     
  6. sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    My dictionary has "lie of the land" but not "lay of the land". Idiomatic expressions get distorted over time, in the same way as a phrase passed down a line of EFL students comes out sounding very different from the phrase given by the teacher to the first student.
     

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