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"Lay" means to put or place and always requires an object to finish its meaning. "Lie" means to recline or rest.
Examples of "Lay":
Please lay your pencils on the desk.
I laid the pencil on your desk yesterday.
I have laid the pencil on your desk many times.
I am always laying the pencils on your desk.
Examples of "Lie":
John lies in bed all morning.
He lay in the sick room yesterday afternoon.
He has lain in bed all weekend.
He is lying in bed as we speak.
It's should be noted, too, that 'lay' is also the past tense of the verb 'to lie' (as in the second sentence under 'Examples of "Lie"', above). Could it be any more confusing?
Still a bit confused, given your examples for "lie": "He lay in the sick room... " and "He has lain in bed... ", it would appear that "lay" and "lain" are past tense forms of "lie". Is this actually the case?
Can you really say: I am always laing the pensil on your desk? It's illiterally.
I always lay the pensil on your desk should be said.