Whoa. I'm even more confused!
233. Darwin was not the first to advance a theory of evolution; his tremendous originality lay in the fact that he proposed the idea of natural selection as the means by which evolution worked.
(A) lay in the fact that he proposed the idea
(B) lay in the fact of his proposing the idea
(C) laid in the fact of his proposing the idea
(D) laid in his proposal
(E) lay in his proposal
A/B are too wordy.
C/D alters the meaning.
E. Lay is the correct verb.
Here is why? An excerpt from the Cliff's grammer book.
Lie and lay are two of the six problematic and confusing verbs. The others are: Rise & Raise, and Sit & set.
The first source of confusion is that there are two completely different verbs spelled lie in the English language. One verb means to say something that is not true. That is not the verb I refer to in this section. The verb lie that is often confused with lay means to “rest,” “repose,” or “be situated in a place.” It is often followed by the preposition down. Lie does not take a complement (because it is intransitive). The tenses of this verb are lie, lay, lain, and lying.
The old dog is lying in the sun.
The nurse asked the patient to lie on the table.
Lay means to “place somebody or something on a surface.” This verb must have a complement (because it is transitive). The tenses of this verb are lay, laid, laid, and laying.
She laid the baby in the crib.
The man had laid the documents on the table before he sat down.
Rise and raise have similar meanings but are frequently confused with each other. Rise is an intransitive verb (meaning it cannot have a complement), and raise is a transitive verb (meaning it requires a complement).
Rise means “get up,” “move upwards (without outside assistance),” or “increase.” The tenses of this verb are rise, rose, risen, and rising.
The tide rises at the inlet several hours before it rises further inland.
As the ambassador entered the room, the delegates rose.
When interest rates rise, stock values frequently fall.
Raise means “lift” or “elevate” an object or “increase” something. The tenses of this verb are raise, raised, raised, and raising.
You must raise your grades if you hope to be awarded the scholarship.
This company has entered into a contract to attempt to raise the remains of the sunken ship.
Sit and set are easily confused as well.
Sit means to “take a seat.” Like lie, it is also often used with the preposition down. It is intransitive, so it does not take a complement. The tenses of this verb are sit, sat, sat, and sitting.
After swimming, Bob sat on the beach to dry off.
They have sat in the same position for two hours.
Set means to “put somebody or something on a surface or in a place.” Set is often interchangeable with lay or put except in certain idiomatic expressions like set the table. It is transitive, so it must take an object.
The man set the computer on the table.
Melinda is setting the forms in the trays.