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overlain v. overlaid[edit]

When does one use overlain v. overlaid?

^^^ above is an unsigned question from on 10 August 2005

overlain is the past participle of overlie; overlaid is the past participle of overlay

Two examples: Sediments carried by the Mississippi River have overlain ancient salt deposits. I have overlaid the tracks that the GPS unit records onto maps in Google Earth.

Note that many people get them confused (and hence use the wrong one). Overlay itself can also be the simple past form of overlie, which increases the confusion. If in doubt, remember that overlain will normally just be "overlain something" whereas overlaid will be "overlaid something onto something else". Ozaru 11:18, 13 January 2011 (UTC)