[The underlining of individual words indicates verbs used as participles or gerunds, i.e. as adjectives or nouns.]
> acting as an adjective. That's what I get for not paying attention in class.
In truth I learned more Grammar learning Latin, than I ever did from learning English in primary school. In Latin you have to know what it is you're trying to say, in English, if your family speaks grammatical English, generally so do you. If they don't, it's hard to learn.
The biggest example of this centres around the confusion of the verb "to lie", with the verb "to lay".
Simple rule, People lie in the present tense, whether it is the Transitive verb for "to recline" or the Intransitive verb "to tell an untruth". Joe Wilson's "You lie!" is an intransitive verb used as an exclamation and therefore doesn't need an object or adjective completion. "You're a liar", is more grammatical but less punchy.
Transitive verb to lie,
"I lie down" is correct, "down" is the adjective that completes the sentence and acts as the object of the sentence
"You lie down", is correct "I lie on the bed", and "You lie on the bed" are both correct
"He lies down", is correct
"He lies on the bed asleep", is correct Or "The dog lies on the rug asleep" is correct.
"I lay down an hour ago", is correct, "lay" is the past tense of "to lie", and the action happened sometime in the past,
but "I'm going to lay down" is Wrong because it is the wrong verb for the action of lying down.
"I am going to lie down", is correct. "to lie down" is a participial phrase completing the sentence, "am" is the verb (the verb "to be" as in "I am", "you are", "he is". In the present tense, to be is an irregular verb.
"Lie down", is correct "Lie" is a command, in the imperative mood (see how annoying this gets}
"Yesterday I lay in bed until 8:30", is correct, and that's why the confusion arises, because "lay" is also the past tense of the verb "to lie" as well a verb series all on its own
Verb "to lay" followed by an inanimate completion
"I lay the book aside", is correct in the present tense.
"You lay logs for the fire" is correct in the present tens
"Lay that pistol down, Mama, Lay that pistol down", is correct, the pistol can't lie itself down, it has to be laid down by someone, it can't move by itself. That's "lay" in the present imperative tense.
"The book lay on the table all covered in dust", is correct
"You laid the logs for the fire", is correct in the past tense.
"You will lay the logs etc. etc.", is the future tense for the verb
The difference is Transitive versus Intransitive Verbs, which is a distinction I was never good at.
A Transitive verb requires an object. "I lie", without an object means that it is the intransitive verb of untruth.
Annoyingly, Transitive Verbs can appear to be used intransitively as in "Where did the book lie?" Actually "lie" here is being used as a participle (adjective) to indicate what the book was doing. The verb in the sentence is "did".
All I can say is I owe a big apology to all my English teachers for not paying attention 60 years ago. I just sped through the exercises and then looked distracted and possibly vacant and certainly bored.
Because the usage of "lay" is becoming so pervasive, I expect that it will ultimately be ruled as correct usage through simple force of ignorance.
Personally, I intend to expire with the words "It's a f*cking Transitive Verb, you moron!" on my dying lips, correct and annoying to the last.