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As per my opinion, it should be

statements aren't lied every time

not:

statements aren't lies every time

As per my daily routine, I was reading the news on Yahoo and found out an error, so I thought I should ask a question here.

On Yahoo:

To be clear, these statements aren't lies every time an employer says them. But they're inaccurate enough of the time that you shouldn't take them at face value when you hear them.

As per my opinion:

To be clear, these statements aren't lied every time an employer says them. But they're inaccurate enough of the time that you shouldn't take them at face value when you hear them.

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2 Answers 2

Nope; it's correct in the original.

The word statements is a plural noun, as is lies. Therefore, this is grammatically correct:

These statements are lies.

This is not:

These statements are lied.

although we could say:

She lied when she made these statements.

because, in that last sentence, lie is functioning as a verb, not a noun.

Remember, statements don't lie; people do. That's why we don't say:

These statements lied to the jury.

but we can say:

These statements to the jury are lies.

or:

He lied to the jury when he made his statements.


This does get very tricky in English, though, particularly when dealing with truths and lies. All of these are grammatical:

These statements are true.
These statements are false.   (Both true and false function as adjectives here)

These statements are the truth.
These statements are not the truth.   (We generally use the when referring to collective truth)

These statements are a lie.
These statements are lies.   (Do the statements make up one big lie? Or several different lies?)

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+1 Also of relevance: lie is an intransitive verb and cannot be cast in the passive. –  StoneyB Mar 8 at 11:29
    
@StoneyB Thanks for your feedback. Let me ask you one thing that an intransitive verb cannot be used in a passive voice? or there are exceptions as English does. –  user62015 Mar 10 at 8:08
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@user62015 In an ordinary active sentence, the subject is the Agent, the 'doer' of the action. In a passive sentence the subject is the Object of the verb, the thing acted upon. Intransitive verbs do not have objects, so they cannot be cast in the passive. –  StoneyB Mar 10 at 9:18
    
@StoneyB Thanks for your help. I appreciate your help a lot. One more thing I wanted to ask (I think I should ask J.R about it, but if you are available and could answer that would be awesome and very helpful). As per my knowledge these sentences can be right : These statements are a lie. These statements are lying. These statements have been lying. It is not done due to character limit, please check another comment also to understand my question completely. –  user62015 Mar 10 at 9:38
    
@StoneyB Or many more, but this: These statements are lies. This sentence is something which I am unable to digest till now, because "lies" can be used (as per my knowledge and I am not a native English speaker) with he, she, it in the present simple tense. My question is that statements are plural and lies works for singular so please answer it so I can digest this. I know that I am going to learn a new thing by this. –  user62015 Mar 10 at 9:40
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You are incorrect, the quote should stay as originally written. In the original sentence, "lies" is a plural noun that means intentionally untrue statements. The author is saying the statements are often untrue, but that the person making the statements may not be intentionally lying, he may just be wrong. Either way, the listener shouldn't assume that the statements are correct.

"Lied" is a past-tense verb.

Your daughter lied to me (past-tense verb), I know she broke my window. Her statement to me was a lie (noun). She lies (present tense verb), she tells lies (plural noun).

EDIT: And don't lie to me! (verb)

Ain't English grand?! It gets more complicated when discussing "lie" vs "lay" :)

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