Category Archives: Apparel

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.


I know I’ve been a bit heavy on T-shirt postings these days, but this latest T-shirt deserves attention.  As soon as I fully understood what it meant, I felt the urge to buy it, just for its grammatical correctness!

Check it out:

At first, I thought it said, “We’re #1.”  That would make it a nice antiquated T-shirt, reminiscent of the past.  But then I realized that I had read the words too quickly, and hadn’t noticed that there was no apostrophe.

The shirt is meant to read, “Were #1,” as in “Used to be #1.”


Some of you know that I am a huge geography nerd in addition to being a grammar nerd.  In fact, I’m much more of a geography-phile than a grammar-phile.

Because of my geographic knowledge, I am particularly THRILLED that this shirt includes Northern Ireland in order to form the United Kingdom.  The United Kingdom consists of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland; Britain consists of everything but Northern Ireland.

For those reasons, this shirt is PERFECT.

Buy it here.  It’s on sale for $14.99 this week.

I already own three shirts from bustedtees.comWithout Me, It’s Just Aweso; Irish I Were Drunk (I wear it exclusively on St. Paddy’s Day and on days when I go to Celtics games) and SILF.

I swear, Busted Tees isn’t paying me to advertise their wares.  The fact that the “Were #1” shirt took me a second to actually get it made it well worth posting!

Noisebot — Cheers and Boos

I am a fan of funny T-shirts (I wore my “Without Me, It’s Just Aweso” shirt when I did my Boston Globe interview, and I recently bought SILF from Busted Tees — that one was a hit at work!), and when I saw the ad for NoiseBot, I clicked on it.

Most of these shirts aren’t very funny, but I did like the one that said, “Make awkward sexual advances, not war.”

As I looked them over, I found two in particular that I thought would be of interest to you readers.  There is an awesome one and an awful one.  Check them out:




We know why.

An Evening at Sissy K’s

Sissy K’s used to be so good. What happened?! I always had a great time whenever I went with my friends, especially last summer, when we went all the time. I guess now that I live in Somerville and I try to go out on a regular basis (when I have time to do something besides grammar stuff), I have higher standards.

Beth and I went there on Saturday night, and we tried so hard to have a good time. We did have fun, at times, but overall, it wasn’t good. (There was precisely ONE good-looking guy in the entire place. I sidled up to him. “Hey, how’s it going?” I smiled. He looked at me, gave me a look of disgust, and walked away. Beth spent the rest of the night telling me he was wearing Christian Loubutins and was therefore gay.)

The night wasn’t a complete loss, however. I found some marvelous grammar errors.

No wonder it takes so long to get a drink!

At first when I saw the shirt, I wasn’t thinking straight, and I thought that “John’s” was meant to be “Johns,” meaning several guys named John, or maybe several guys who are customers of a prostitute.

It turns out that this guy’s shirt should say Big-Hearted, not Big Hearted.

Jersey Boy.

Beth and I spent the rest of the night being chased by these two brothers, one of whom had a shaved head. The other could not dance to a beat to save his life.

I think we’re done with Sissy K’s.