This part I understand clearly:
present past past participle ------------------------------- lie lay lain lay laid laid
I already understand that and so am not asking how to conjugate these two different verbs: I do already know how to conjugate both of them. Rather, I just don’t know how to remember how to conjugate them so that this sticks in my brain.
Both Professor Malcolm Gibson's Wonderful World of Words and Grammar Girl offer mnemonics for the present tense — so I again stress that I am not asking about that! However, they offer nothing for the past tenses. Grammar Girl even confesses:
I tried and tried to come up with a mnemonic for this, but I couldn’t do it. [. . .] Practice will help, and truthfully, I still have to look them up every time I use them.
How can I come to grips with this confusing conjugation, in order to intuit or assimilate it as far as possible, and to help me remember?
I was inspired to ask this by Kosmonaut’s laconic remark:
Most people don’t even know the correct paradigm for conjugating these verbs [read: lie and lay].
Is there such a “paradigm”?