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'Laying in Bed' or 'Lying in Bed': What's the Difference?

Shaun Connell
June 1, 2023

Are you wondering the difference between 'laying in bed' and 'lying in bed?' If you are, you aren't alone! This pair of words is one of the most confusing in English.

Here is the short answer:

  • 'Laying in bed' is grammatically incorrect.
  • 'Lying in bed' is the correct way to say you are in bed. 

While that answers the question. There is more to learn. So, keep reading!

What's the Difference Between 'Laying in Bed' and 'Lying in Bed?'

Whether you are just starting as a freelance writer or an experienced SEO content writer, ghostwriter, copywriter, or blogger, knowing the difference between confusing terms like these helps you to avoid embarrassing mistakes like saying:

'Go lay down and take a nap.'

It also helps you more quickly identify grammar errors when you are proofreading or editing.

'Laying in bed' is a grammatical error since lay is a transitive word that has to be directly connected to an object.

For example:

  • Laying pavers
  • Laying bricks
  • Laying your keys on the bar

'Lying in bed' means to be in a flat position supported by something.

For example:

  • Lying on your back
  • Lying on the bench
  • Lying on the grass
  • Lying in the hammock

You lie down, on, or in something.

When to Use 'Laying in Bed' or 'Lying in Bed'

It does not matter what tense or person you are writing in or whether you are writing comedy or technical content. There is no question about which of these terms to use. The first is never correct. But how do you know when to use 'lying in bed.'

  • Use 'lying in bed' when you say you are in bed.

For example, I might say:

I have to get up! I have been lying in bed all morning.

  • Use 'lying in bed' when you are talking about someone else who is in bed.

For example, you might say:

Are you still lying in bed? You will never get anything accomplished if you lie there all day.

  • Use 'lying in bed' if you or someone else is actively or currently lying down.

For example, someone might tell you:

Lying in bed feels so good on the weekend when you do not have to wake up early to get to work or an early morning meeting. 

  • You use the word laying when discussing putting something on something else.

For example, you could say:

The lawn company is laying new grass today. 

Definition of 'Lying in Bed': What Does 'Lying in Bed' Mean?

The phrase 'lying in bed' contains three words. So, we will look at each word's definitions to break down the meaning.

Definition of Lying

Lying is a verb that, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means:

  • To rest in a horizontal position

It can also mean:

  • Getting into a horizontal position
  • In a defenseless state
  • Unable to help one's self
  • An object remaining in a horizontal position on something else
  • To be anchored to something
  • To belong, be part of, or be attributed to something

Definition of In

In is a preposition that the same resource defines as:

  • A function word used to show direction, inclusion, or position within something else

It can also mean:

  • A function word used to indicate a material or medium
  • Within a place
  • To incorporate into
  • An indistinguishable position

It can also be an adjective, meaning:

  • Within or located inside of something
  • Having an inward location
  • To be aware of something
  • Stylish or fashionable

As a noun, it means:

  • A person in a political person
  • The intricacies of a position or office
  • Having sway, influence, or pull

Definition of Bed

Bed is a noun defined as:

  • A piece of furniture you sleep in

It can also mean:

  • A close or personal relationship
  • A place where people engage in sexual activities
  • A piece of medical equipment used to contain a position
  • Instrumentals or vocals combined to compose a track

It can also be a verb, meaning:

  • To make up a bed
  • To bring someone to bed
  • To put something in a bed
  • To plant something
  • To have sexual relations with someone

So, in the phrase 'lying in bed,' lying means resting in a horizontal position. It shows where you are lying, and the bed is a flat surface where you sleep.

So, the term means resting in a horizontal position in the place where you sleep. 

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce 'Laying in Bed' or 'Lying in Bed'

Learning pronunciation is just as important as knowing how to use a word correctly. When you can say a phrase confidently, you are more likely to use it when speaking, writing content, or sending a text.

Although 'laying in bed' is not grammatically correct, we will still look at both terms.

So, here is a quick pronunciation guide:

lei-ing en bed

  • Use this phonetic spelling to learn how to pronounce 'lying in bed'

lai-ing en bed

Sample Sentences Using 'Lying in Bed'

Now that you understand which term is correct and why, look over these sample sentences using the phrase.

  • After a long day of physical work, lying in bed is all I want to do.
  • You better be lying in bed with the light out. If I come in there and catch you up, you will be grounded for a week.
  • This week my goal is to be lying in bed by 9 p.m.
  • If you are lying in bed and can't fall asleep, it might help you to listen to a relaxation meditation.
  • After lying in bed in a hospital for three weeks, I am sure you can't wait to get home.
  • The baby is lying in bed, staring at the ceiling.
  • Some people find lying in bed on their backs uncomfortable.
  • The blogger writes all of her posts while lying in bed.

Final Advice on the Difference Between 'Laying in Bed' or 'Lying in Bed'

We covered a lot of information on the difference between 'laying in bed' or 'lying in bed.'

So, let's do a quick recap: 

  • 'Laying in bed' is not grammatically correct, so you should not use it. 
  • 'Lying in bed' is the right way to say you are resting in bed. 

Remember that when you use lay, you have to have a direct object, and that lie or lying is the correct term for saying you or someone else is lying down, in, or on your bed.

Even experienced English speakers and writers mix these terms up from time to time. So, if you find yourself stumped again, you can always return to Freelance Writing Jobs and this page to review this lesson.

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Written By:
Shaun Connell
Shaun Connell has spent his entire career either working as a freelance writer or hiring freelance writers for his many successful publications. Shaun has learned the exact tricks of the trade to hire the perfect writer for almost any niche.

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