His kidneys become infected and the antibiotics they administer cause allergic reactions. Sometimes he is so close to death all I can do is lie with him and share his suffering.

The sentences stated above have been taken from a story named Your son is in a coma published in Reader's Digest, January 2006. I cannot find the name of the author of this story.

Is there any that which has been omitted? In my opinion we need to use that after so close to death, or we could use an and with a comma before all I need is lie... Please correct me if I'm wrong.

If I wrote all I can do is laying with him and sharing his suffering or all I can do is to lie with him and to share his suffering instead of original version that the writer wrote , will it be wrong? If it is wrong, please tell why.



2 Answers 2


To help one better understand the correct use of lie/lay, I recommend the brief notes and especially the chart at http://freeology.com/grammar/lie-lay-practice-worksheet/

Reviewing the chart will show you why

"all I can do is laying with him and sharing his suffering" is incorrect

and why

"all I can do is to lie with him and to share his suffering" is correct.

You are also correct that the omitted "that," while optional, would also be appropriate usage.


In OP's example usage, lie and share are infinitive verb forms, where the explicit "infinitive marker" to is optional.

In practice most native speakers probably wouldn't include the infinitive marker before either verb, but there no grammatical rule requiring this (note, however, that only using it on the second verb would be stylistically appalling).

I should also point out that to avoid confusion with lie = utter falsehoods, lay [down] would be better. Also - continuous verb forms don't work well in contexts like this.

  • Please tell me when and where continuous verb forms work well.
    – Azahar Ali
    Mar 15, 2016 at 18:19
  • I've no idea if it helps or not. All I am doing is laying/lying beside him and sharing his suffering. Mar 15, 2016 at 18:23
  • I would avoid using "lay with him" all by itself as well. "Lay down with" would probably be better if you were going to use that. "Lay with" on its own can mean "to have sex with" in some contexts. Mar 15, 2016 at 18:38
  • @Tofystedeth Agreed, though at least it refers to lying down on the same bed. In a hospital context, when you are in the same room, it might be better to say "all I can do is stay with him" .
    – user3169
    Mar 15, 2016 at 20:32
  • Hey, @FumbleFingers, are you still banging around right this moment? It's 22.10 in the evening, your time, and I'd like to chat with you about something. Mar 15, 2016 at 22:07

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