We all know that "to lie" means "to tell an untruth." Everyone does it. It's totally normal…but not always acceptable.
Apart from that definition, though, the verb "to lie" is often mixed up with the verb "to lay." Although that's also totally normal, it's never acceptable. People may be able to accept the occasional lie you tell, but they'll never accept your grammatical mistakes.
Lay requires a direct object, so you use this verb when you are putting an object down. For example, you lay your stuffed tiger on your pillow.
Lie does not require a direct object because it means "to recline." You love to snuggle your fluffy tiger as you lie in bed.
You may be thinking, "easy enough." Alas, the going gets tough when you're using other verb tenses. Our suggestion? Just commit it all to memory by repeating them seven times out loud. Not six, not eight. Only seven—and don't you dare lose count.
"As the hikers made their final ascent, they noticed some cute mountain goats that were lying idly in the rocks. The goats were making fun of their pathetic attempt at rock climbing, but thankfully all the hikers heard were adorable bleating sounds."
Remember that the verb to lay needs a direct object. Goats don't have hands, so we're pretty sure that there is no situation in which any form of the verb to lay would be correct. You don't see he-goats going around laying flowers in front of their she-goat counterparts. The next step is deciding which tense the verb should be in. Since the next sentence starts with were making, you should go with were lying. You know, for consistency and parallelism and all that.