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What is the meaning of "we lay down in grass" in the sentence, "Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lay down in grass" ?

This sentence is in the examples in the Korean-naver dictionary. In the example sentence of this dictionary, this dictionary translates:

"Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lay down in grass"

as

"Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we plant grass"

But Google translator translates "Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lay down in grass" as "Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lie on grass".

What does it mean?

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    That one is anybody's guess, it didn't translate well. Maybe it's a translation of idiom. Plant grass is the only suggested option that would make sense if it is a normal, modern, conversational sentence.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 1 '17 at 6:02
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    Seems like it was not proofed by a native speaker. My guess would be "Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we could lie on (the) grass", in the sense that if there was no lawn you wouldn't lie on the dirt. Since this is contemplating a possibility, using a would/could pattern is appropriate. The examples you gave don't follow this pattern.
    – user3169
    Apr 1 '17 at 6:08
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If you want a lawn (a large, flat area of grass), there are two ways of doing it. You can sow grass seeds, or you can buy rolls of grass that is growing in a thin layer of soil (called turf) and then lay it in the same way as you would lay a carpet. This is what turf looks like:

enter image description here

Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lay down in grass

This sentence is not correct. It could be made understandable by removing the in, but still not natural or grammatically correct. More natural sentences would be:

Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we made a lawn.
Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we sowed some grass seeds.
Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we laid some turf.

You could also use the words lay, grow or plant in relation to a lawn. The term lay down is not used about turf or lawns. This NGram shows that make a lawn is considerably more common than lay a lawn, and lay down a lawn hardly appears at all.

Note that, when we use would in a conditional sentence (one with an if), we normally backshift the tense of the verb in the if clause, so make->made, sow->sowed, lay->laid.

This is what the first sentence would be like if we made it unconditional:

Our front yard will be a lot nicer when we make a lawn.

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  • "To make a lawn" sounds odd and non-idiomatic to my ear.
    – mattdm
    Apr 1 '17 at 19:29
  • @mattdm: it's not my favourite term, but if you google it you will find that it is quite widely used. Here is an example: crocus.co.uk/features/_/articleid.982.
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 1 '17 at 19:42
  • Maybe it's a British thing? I did that search, and the vast majority of occurrences are "make a lawn great" or "make a lawn mower".
    – mattdm
    Apr 1 '17 at 19:53
  • @mattdm: Vast majority? About 50% of the ones that I looked at. British? "If you're undecided about whether to make a new lawn or repair an old one, let the lawn itself answer your dilemma." J.I.Rodale, an American who knew a thing or two about gardening. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._I._Rodale
    – JavaLatte
    Apr 1 '17 at 20:08
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    Isn't the translation meant to be "Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lay down grass"? (Just remove "in")
    – Bohemian
    Apr 1 '17 at 22:27
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There is a possible mistranslation you are looking at

Our front yard would be a lot nicer if we lay down grass.

would have the meaning that planting grass (laying down grass) would make the front yard nicer. Lay down is slang-ish for putting down or planting.

Also

lay down in grass

implies the grass is long and overgrown.

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