Which word is correct?
It took no longer than five seconds before the victim (lay / was lying) on the floor, unconscious.
- was lying21
- Both are correct. "Was lying" is past progressive. "Lay" is the past definite form of "lie."22
- ...was lying...01
- It would be "was lying" or "laid". However, you don't really need it; it is redundant. If the victim was unconscious and on the floor, it's unlikely the victim was sitting up.
"Within five seconds, the victim was on the floor, unconscious."
- Lay, the past tense of lie.10
- Both are grammatical, but illogical. I would substitute "before the victim fell to the floor".00
- Either is is OK - depends on the sense you want to convey.
It took no longer than five seconds before the victim lay on the floor, unconscious - simple past -indicates that was what happened at the end of the five seconds.
It took no longer than five seconds before the victim was lying on the floor, unconscious. - past continuous indicates that he was lying on the floor for some unspecified time.41
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