9 Responses to “Editing tip of the day #6”

  1. Marianne September 29, 2007 at 10:21 AM #

    That’s so funny… I had this come up half a dozen times in one of my books (I had a very clumsy hero), and one of my crit partners would tell me over and over — he’s SUPINE, not prone.


    I did finally get it. But it’s misused all the time, so yeah — good editing suggestion!

  2. Erin September 29, 2007 at 10:41 AM #

    Prone and supine… got it.

    But, wouldn’t you lie prone? and be lying face down?

  3. marsha September 29, 2007 at 10:47 AM #

    …I knew that. Although, I’m not sure if I would have realized the word supine meant the opposite.

  4. Angie September 29, 2007 at 10:50 AM #

    But, wouldn’t you lie prone? and be lying face down?

    Clever :bitch:

  5. Shannon Stacey September 29, 2007 at 4:21 PM #


    I think Erin should get a free book.

  6. Laura September 29, 2007 at 7:23 PM #

    Well you learn something new everyday! I’ll admit I’ve done this and it got past the editor. My hero is lying prone when the heroine straddles him. Oops.

  7. Erin September 29, 2007 at 9:31 PM #

    I like Shannon’s idea. :giggle:

  8. Marilyn Tarnowski September 30, 2007 at 10:31 AM #

    Editors scrupulously practice the difference between “lay” and “lie,” especially when “teaching.” In the sentences just proposed, the instransitive verb is needed. Chickens lay eggs; people lie down.

    If you lay [lie] prone, you’re laying [lying] face down. It doesn’t mean just laying [lying] down as I think some people believe, it means laying [lying] face down.

    This confusion arises partly from the coincidence that the past tense of “lie” (intransitive) is “lay.” This makes the present tense of “lay” (transitive) look like what it isn’t. However, the context of the sentence (tense, the presence of objects) puts crafty editors on the alert for this common error.
    Old Word Wolf

  9. Angie September 30, 2007 at 10:43 AM #

    Yuh huh.

    I’m sure that cleared up the confusion for all of the laypeople *wink* out there.

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