I teach at our local technical college. One spring day I was taking the roll in my secretarial class. Cindy was absent. Because she was known as a sun worshiper, I suspected she was skipping the class and enjoying the sun. Nevertheless, I asked, “Cindy won’t be here this afternoon?”
“She went home to lay in the sun,” a young woman in the front row volunteered a frank answer. And she got “lie” mixed up with “lay”. “This woman is going to be working as a secretary and yet she makes such a mistake. Her grammar should be corrected now, otherwise she’d be embarrassed at the office someday”, I thought, and whispered, “Lie”. I intended to tell her, “Not lay, but lie”, audible only to her to avoid embarrassing her before the class.
But, my consideration for her didn’t work as I intended.
“Okay,” she replied in astonishment. “Cindy got sick and went home.”
In the first place, she didn’t realize that she had made a grammatical error. In the second place, she thought I was telling her to protect Cindy’s honor by telling a lie to the class as to why Cindy was absent. So she made up a lie in a hurry, and told it to the class.