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Stay lain.

Is this correct to mean to stay lying down on your back and to ask somebody to do so?
If not, how to ask someone to keep staying lying down?

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    Stay lain is technically correct but no one actually says that. Stay lying down is what you should say.
    – LawrenceC
    Jul 27, 2016 at 4:30
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    An American cop would say, 'Freeze!'. :-)
    – tom
    Jul 27, 2016 at 4:33

2 Answers 2

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Lain is the perfect form of the verb to lie. We use the perfect when an action has been completed in the past. You are describing an action which is still continuing, so you should use the present continuous:

Stay lying down.

The post What is the Perfect, and How Should I Use It? is very useful.

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"Lain" is an archaic form, and is hardly ever used in any context.

The most idiomatic ways of expressing this would probably be "don't get up", or "stay on your back", or simply "stay down".

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  • Really? How would you say "I had lain down" without using this supposedly "archaic" form? How about "We have lain together for weeks"? You would say, perhaps, "We have lied together for weeks"? I've had experiences like that, heaven knows. Jul 27, 2016 at 4:36
  • Either "laid down" or "been lying down", depending on intent. I realize there's a slight difference in meaning, but if the distinction mattered, I'd be more inclined to just clarify by using more words (for example, "had laid down and got back up").
    – user27353
    Jul 27, 2016 at 4:47
  • Or stay as you are. Or maintain your position. Jul 27, 2016 at 4:54
  • @duskwuff Dictionary.com has simply " 1. past participle of lie." Where are you finding it referred to as archaic? Do you think We have lain together for weeks and We have been lying down together for weeks are equivalent? Jul 27, 2016 at 4:56
  • Perhaps not the strongest source, but Google Ngram Viewer shows it as a much rarer word than the other forms of "lie".
    – user27353
    Jul 27, 2016 at 5:01

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