Lay vs. Lie and the Hanes Lie Flat Collar

I received quite the loaded question from reader Sara.

It turns out that Hanes is now selling a T-shirt with the brand name LAY FLAT COLLAR.

Well, now.

Does the collar lie? Or do we lay it down?

I think we’ve had this discussion on here before.

You use the word lay when someone places an object or puts it down.

Before you go to bed, please lay out your clothes for the next day.

You use the word lie when the subject reclines…

I lie in bed for a long time on Saturday mornings.

However, it starts getting complicated when you get into the past tense.

Here’s a brief overview:

If we’re talking about placing:

I lay my clothes out the night before.

I laid my clothes out last night.

I’ve laid my clothes out every night since I was eight years old.

If we’re talking about reclining:

I lie in bed for a long time on Saturday mornings.

I lay in bed for a long time last Saturday.

I’ve lain for 30 minutes so far.

Good times.

Anyway, Sara told me that Hanes shirt features a LAY FLAT COLLAR.

So, who lays the collar?  Does the collar lay itself?  In that case, it would lie, not lay.

I think that Hanes means that the shirt

I can see why Hanes wouldn’t be thrilled with the word lie.  In addition to most of the population confusing these two words, the word lie has a negative connotation.  That probably wouldn’t be the best way to sell undergarments.

Hanes, if you come across this entry, I hope you change your ways.  I doubt it, but I hope that you do.

I’m not counting on it.

Thanks, Sara.

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3 responses to “Lay vs. Lie and the Hanes Lie Flat Collar

  1. I just saw the commercial for the shirts with Michael Jordan and Charlie Sheen — and the narrator says “The shirt with the collar that lays flat.” I immediately noticed the error. They need to change that.

  2. I’ve just been reading your blog and I must say I’m in love. Finally, another person like me.

    But I am confused about a sentence in this entry: “I think that Hanes means that the shirt”

    Normally I punctuate the end of my sentence inside the quotation marks, but I’m trying to bring attention to your lack of punctuation.

    I actually didn’t understand the sentence at all.

  3. you people need to get a life! wow!

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