Lies Ahead or Lays Ahead? Which is correct?

In case you’re wondering if the correct phrase is ‘lays ahead’ or ‘lies ahead,’ you might be shocked to hear that the correct phrasing is the phrase “lay ahead or “lies ahead”. We use “lies ahead” in the present and future and “lay ahead” in the past. 

Continue reading to discover more about why the correct phrasing is ‘lays ahead,’ the differences between transitive and phrasal verbs, and how to correctly utilize the phrase ‘lay ahead’ in a variety of frequent situations.

Definition of Lays Ahead and Lies Ahead

One of the main reasons that it is important to use the correct phrasal and transitive verbs is that using the wrong one could change the entire meaning of a sentence. The word ‘lie’ infers something that you can do yourself. For example, you can lie down, or you can find something that is lying on the ground.

Lay, as in ‘lays ahead,’ on the other hand, is a transitive verb. This means that it needs a subject and an object to make the word grammatically correct. Something being offered to you would require ‘lays ahead.’

Transitive and Intransitive Phrasal Verbs

When it comes to English, the term “transitive phrasal verb” refers to the direct objects that are included in the sentences. Intransitive verbs, on the other hand, don’t have a direct object like the other phrasal verbs. In English grammar, the object refers to the words or portion of a phrase that is normally affected by the action of the words in the statement.

Examples of Using ‘Lay Ahead’

English grammar can be tough for some, even native speakers. With more practice and using real-life examples, however, you can become more fluent and take your writing further by understanding different types of word parts. More examples of how to use ‘lay ahead’ properly within a sentence can look like the following

  • You had a bright future that lay ahead of you.
  • He had a bumpy road that lay ahead of him.
  • She had no idea what complications lay ahead of her.

Examples of Using ‘Lies Ahead’

On the other hand, using lies ahead is quite easily done. When you use ‘lay ahead’ you are describing something that happens in past, while ‘lie ahead’ is describing something that is happening in the present or future. Examples of using ‘lie ahead’ properly in a sentence are:

  • If you go to college, you will have a bright future that lies ahead.
  • Good fortune lies ahead for you.
  • Only smooth sailing lies ahead.