I think it’s only a matter of time before no one will lie anymore. And by that, I mean people will only lay.
As your uptight high-school English teacher no doubt became exasperated telling you over and over again, if you use the verb “lay” in the present or future tense, it must include a direct object. “Lay” doesn’t require a direct object only when you use the word in the past tense.
Incorrect: “I’m going to lay down.”
Correct: “I’m going to lie down.”
Correct: “I’m going to lay my body down.”
Correct: “I lay down a few minutes ago.”
I think that before too long, no one will need to worry about the correctness or incorrectness of these sentences in the eyes of the grammar gods.
Virtually everyone I know uses the present-tense, intransitive “lay” on a regular basis — to the extent that I now notice myself “correctly” saying “lie” by second nature and wondering why I didn’t use the more common colloquialism. I have even seen published non-fiction, expository books that say “lay” where a grammarian (or, one would presume, proof reader) would say “lie.” I get the idea that before another decade passes, the present-tense, intransitive “lay” will become grammatically acceptable because its use is so widespread.
One casualty of this impending change will be (if it isn’t a casualty already) the haunting irony of the title of William Faulkner’s novel As I Lay Dying. Within that title, the “I” — the one speaking, presumably the character of the dying mother — is already dead. To whom is she speaking? I’m not sure if anyone is wondering anymore.
The trailer for James Franco’s 2013 film adaptation of William Faulkner’s ‘As I Lay Dying’