Tying, Lying, Vying, Dying

I was reading about seismic-to-well ties (yes, that’s hyphenated) and ran across the word ‘”tieing.” This is not how you spell the
present participle of the verb “to tie.” The correct spelling is “tying.” Why? Because it’s an irregular verb. And there are several others just like it.

Tie => Tying
Lie => Lying
Die => Dying
Vie => Vying

This last one, vying, is currently going on in a big way at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. (Let’s hope and pray that none of the other three examples are.)

Overlie and Underlie follow the same rule as Lie when forming the present participle:
Lie => Lying
Overlie => Overlying
Underlie => Underlying
These are often used when describing one stratigraphic rock formation located on top of or below another.

Dying (becoming dead) should not be confused with Dyeing (permanently coloring something using a dye or pigment).

Your mother called to say she is dyeing. (Easter eggs, hair, T-shirts, no big deal)
Your mother called to say she is dying. (Better get over there right away!)

But if your spouse leaves a message on the kitchen table saying:
Your mother called to say she is dieing.
Which one was meant? Maybe she’s playing with dice again. (Die is the singular of dice.)

Undying looks like a present participle.
He pledged his undying love to his betrothed.

However, it is really an adjective, because there is no such verb as “to undie.” Maybe in the coming resurrection we will need such a word.

Funny Quote of the Day:
“My uncle’s dying wish — he wanted me on his lap. He was in the electric chair.”
– Rodney Dangerfield, American comedian, 1921-2004


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