04 April 2011

Tricky Words

Ever get hung up on sit/set, lie/lay, rise/raise? This will help.

Even experienced writers can get tripped up on word usage. Three of the most common word pairs where mistakes are made are the words: sit/set, lie/lay, rise/raise

To set, to lay, and to rise are usually followed by a direct object.
[direct object is the item that receives the action of the verb. Sophia threw a sock (d.o.) at Aaron. ]

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To set: to rest
To sit: to place or put
  
Here is a chart showing all the forms:

Infinitive
Present
Past
Present Participle
Past Participle
to sit
sit(s)
sat
sitting
(had) sat
to set
set(s)
set
setting
(had) set

If placed or put can be inserted for sit/set you should use a form of set.

Sophia is sitting in the hammock.
Ryan set his mug on the counter.

There are times when set will not have direct object.

The cut flowers had been set in a basket.

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To rise: to go up (without help)
To raise: to go up (with help)

Here’s a chart with all the forms:

Infinitive
Present
Past
Present Participle
Past Participle
to rise
rise(s)
rose
rising
(had) risen
to raise
raise(s)
raised
raising
(had) raised

Sophia's homemade wheat bread is rising.
Ryan’s coffee stand raised money for the Education Foundation.

There are times when raise will not have a direct object.

The tent had been raised before the caterers arrived.

Remember raise implies with help. The tent needed help; it could not have gone up on its own.

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To lie: to rest or recline
To lay: to place or to put

Here is a chart showing all the forms:

Infinitive
Present
Past
Present Participle
Past Participle
to lie
lie(s)
lay
lying
(had) lain
to lay
lay(s)
laid
laying
(had) lain

If placed or put can be inserted for lie/lay you should use a form of lay.

Sophia is lying on the chase lounge.
Ryan laid the DVD on the end table.

There are times when lay will not have a direct object.

A gun and a knife had been laid there by Bobby.

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For more writing basics see:
http://nicolemariewhite.blogspot.com/2011/03/this-is-football-1.html
http://nicolemariewhite.blogspot.com/2011/03/comma-confusion-part-1.html
http://nicolemariewhite.blogspot.com/2011/03/comma-confusion-part-2.html