Incorrect: He was laying on the couch.

Correct: He was lying on the couch.

If you plan to place or put an object somewhere, such as a plate on a table, you should use “lay.” If you intend to stretch out on a bed for a nap, you should use “lie.” The verb “lie” is an intransitive verb, which means it does not need an object. The transitive verb “lay” requires an object.

It may take some getting used to this “lay” or “lie” business; after all, misuse of these verbs is common. But if you remember to lay down your fork before you’re full, then you won’t have to lie down later from overeating.