2
  1. I would like to be lying on the beach right now.
  2. I wish I had laid on the beach right now.
  3. I would like to have laid on the beach right now.
  4. I would have laid on the beach right now.

Do you think that the above sentences are correct?
Do you think that they convey the extent of feelings/extent of desire of same degree?

  • I think 1, 3 & 4 work but 2 is odd. I would've used I wish I lied since it's something we want to be different in the present together with right now. Number 1, 3 & 4 are resulting clauses of conditional sentences, so they convey to hypothetical situations. – Alejandro Dec 22 '15 at 14:07
  • In formal English, all these participles should be "lain" (past participle of lie) and not "laid" (past participle of lay). – hunter Dec 22 '15 at 14:58
  • 2
    To this native speaker: #1 is good. #2 and #3 don't really made sense with "right now". "I wish I had done it in the past right now"? Is the lying in the past, or is it now? They would make more sense (although they might mean something different) if they were ordered differently, like "Right now, I wish I had lain on the beach" meaning that right now, I wish that the past had been different. #4 makes sense in a hypothetical sense, like Subjunctive says: "If things had gone according to plan, I would have lain on the beach right now." – stangdon Dec 22 '15 at 16:15
2

Only number 1 is correct, because you explicitly state that you are writing about "right now." This is good, because it makes your sentences easier to analyze:

"I would like to be lying on the beach right now." (Correct.)

You could write the other sentences as follows, but note how it changes your meaning:

"Right now, I wish I had lain on the beach yesterday instead of working."

"I would like to have lain on the beach yesterday while I was there."

"I would have lain on the beach yesterday if I had the opportunity.

Native English speakers have great difficulty using "lie, lay, laid and lain" correctly in everyday speech and in writing, especially the difference between the verb "lie," the past tense of which is "lay," and the verb "lay," the past tense and past participle of which is "laid." The past participle of "lie" is "lain."

I try to keep it straight in my head by remembering that "I lie down on the bed," but "I lay a book on the table," and that "the verb 'lay' takes a direct object." If native English speakers get this wrong all the time (and they do), it must be doubly difficult for people learning the English language. I hope this brief introduction is helpful. For further discussions, do a Google search of "lie vs lay," and you can read many more examples.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    You have written-"I would have lain on the beach yesterday if I had the opportunity". Will it be wrong if I write:"I would have lain on the beach yesterday while I was there"? Are there other alternatives to rewrite the first sentence, i.e "I would like to be lying on the beach right now"? I think there may have other alternatives to rewrite it, but they will show different degree of emhasise. Please say what you think. I think I'm going learn something clearly from you. – Azahar Ali Dec 22 '15 at 16:40
  • 2
    Your second example in your comment is excellent and correct: "I would like to be lying on the beach right now." Your first example, "I would have lain on the beach yesterday while I was there" is grammatically correct, but it doesn't make much sense to me, because you were there. In other words, "If you were there, you would have lain on the beach." You wouldn't believe how many Americans say, "I would have laid on the beach," which is incorrect. I would ask them, "What did you lay on the beach?" but most would not understand my question. You are very diligent; I respect that. – Mark Hubbard Dec 22 '15 at 17:49
  • 1
    @AzaharAli, Mark Hubbard makes some really good points. And yes, your diligence is noteworthy! If it makes you feel better, most Americans have immense trouble with lie/lay/laid/lain, so they probably won't even know if you get it wrong. And if you really understand it, you will be doing much better than most Americans! – stangdon Dec 22 '15 at 19:11
  • 1
    For emphasis, you can use a modifier or change the verb. For instance, "I really wish I were lying on the beach right now." Another alternative, very close to your example is, "I wish I would have lain on the beach yesterday while I was there." Can you hear the difference? The addition of "wish" (as a verb) causes the whole sentence to make more sense. Many native English speakers wouldn't use that second sentence, saying instead, "I wish I laid on the beach yesterday," which is incorrect but common. "I wish I lay on the beach yesterday" is correct, but many will think it sounds odd. – Mark Hubbard Dec 22 '15 at 19:12

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.