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Lie me Down

March 6, 2012

In Caitlin Moran’s How To Be a Woman, I come across the following sentence: ‘The next time anyone sees me naked, I am 17, losing my virginity in a bedsit in Stockwell, South London, to a man with steady eyes, who clearly couldn’t care what I do with my pubic hair, and just wants to take my green dress off, and lie me down’. This rather lovely sentence is spoilt for me for the odd grammatical error of ‘lie me down’. lie isn’t transitive; that should of course be lay me down. It’s a surprising slip because the mistake is nearly always the other way round, as in the Eric Clapton song Lay Down Sally. Perhaps Moran, aware of this common error, was hyper-correcting. 

This isn’t to cast aspersions on the book, which is enjoyable and full of sound sense, especially on the subject of pubic hair. She states that every grown, modern woman should have ‘A lovely furry moof that looks – when she sits, naked – as if she has a marmoset sitting in her lap’. Of course. It’s amazing that it even needed saying. 

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