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Layout vs. Lay out

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  Marius Alza  —  Grammar Tips
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Layout vs. Lay out

"Layout" and "lay out" can easily be confused because they are pronounced perfectly the same and are spelled with the exact same letters. Yet, the fact that they are written differently (one word is split into "lay" + "out") is not a minor difference. In fact, this completely changes the meaning of your sentence.

So "layout" and "lay out" are not synonyms, this is something important to remember. But why, and what does each word mean? It is essential to understand this difference in order to prevent yourself from confusing them. So let's take a closer look!

Layout vs. Lay Out

"Layout" is a noun, whereas "lay out" is a phrasal verb. This is the first and most important detail that makes the difference between these two words. This is why "layout" is one word (one noun), and "lay out" is formed by adding the preposition "out" to the verb "lay", creating an expression that has a specific signification.

When do we use "layout"?

As already established above, "layout" is a noun that defines the way that something looks or is arranged. As a noun, "layout" is always written as one word and should always be used with this meaning only.
Example: What do you think about the layout of this webpage? - as a noun, "layout" is referring to the way that the webpage is arranged/designed.

When do we use "lay out"?

As a phrasal verb, "lay out" carries a different meaning. Firstly, "lay out" defines the action of arranging something on a surface and secondly, it can also be used with the meaning of explaining a situation or decision very clearly, usually in a written form.

Example 1: Please lay out all your products on this table, so I can compare them and decide which one to buy. - a phrasal verb referring to the action of arranging all products on a surface.

Example 2: Please lay out all your concerns on this form and I will present it to our manager later today. - as a phrasal verb, "lay out" can also refer to clearly explaining something.


Don't let yourself confused by the fact that they look and sound very similar. "Layout" and "lay out" are two completely different constructions, with distinct meanings. The first is a noun and the second is a phrasal verb. Remember this in order to use them correctly every time.

Layout vs. Lay out

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