Wednesday, May 6, 2009

To Borrow, To Lend

Borrow means to take something from someone, with permission and with the intention of giving it back. The past participle is borrowed.
Borrow: To take and use something that belongs to someone else. I'd like to borrow your umbrella.
Can I borrow the car?
You can borrow a pen from him.
I need to borrow some money.
What happened to the books I borrowed from the library?

Lend is just the opposite - it means to give something to something, with the expectation that s/he will return it. The past participle is lent.
Lend: To give something to someone that belongs to you. I can lend you my umbrella.
Yes, I'll lend you the car.
He'll be happy to lend you a pen.
I can't afford to lend you any money.
The library lent me those books three weeks ago.
Lend can also be used figuratively, to mean to contribute, impart, or offer:
The yellow wall will lend a feeling of warmth.
Your story lends itself to numerous interpretations.

Loan is a synonym for lend, used by Americans, but only for the concrete meaning (the opposite of borrow), not the figurative one. The past participle is loaned.
Yes, I'll loan you the car.
He'll be happy to loan you a pen.
I can't afford to loan you any money.
The library loaned me those books three weeks ago.
Loan is also a noun, which indicates whatever object was loaned.
I'll have to get a loan to buy this house.
The loan of my car was on condition that you fill it with gas.

The Bottom Line *
Borrow means "to take," while lend and loan mean "to give." If you continue to have trouble with this, try substituting "take" for borrow and "give" for lend or loan - the correct word will immediately be clear.
You can only borrow something from someone: Loan (or lend) me a pen is correct, "Borrow me a pen" is not. (Just as "give me a pen" is right, but "take me a pen" isn't.)

After I got caught in the rain, Clare lent me some dry clothes.

Could you lend me your calculator, please?
Has someone borrowed my stapler without asking?
Could I borrow your calculator, please?
Mom offered to lend us some money toward a new car.
Mr. Jones always borrows money off people.
Jason asked me if he could borrow my camera but I said no.
You wouldn't lend me a1,000 Euros, would you?
She never gave me back the 100 Euros she borrowed off me.
Don't lend him the money. He should ask the bank, not you.
Can I borrow your mobile phone for a minute, please?
Sometimes Dad lends me his car for the weekend.

My computer isn’t working well. Could I ____________ yours?
If you need some money, I can ____________ you some.
I would like to ________ this chair for a moment. Is that alright? I’ve run out of paper.
Could I ____________ some of yours? I forgot to buy a newspaper today.
Could you ____________ me yours so I can read the headlines?
The bank has agreed to ____________ us the money we need to finance our new house.
We don't have the money so we will have to ____________ it.
Do you have a coffee mug I could____________? All of the mugs are being used right now.
If you don’t mind, I’d like to ____________ your phone for just a minute.
1. Could you lend me some money, please?
2. Some pupils can borrow books from their school.
3. Will you lend me your umbrella till tomorrow?
4. Should I lend him my football?
5. You can borrow my bike, but be careful.
6. Could I borrow your cup?
7. You can loan your book to Steve.
8. Why do students borrow so much money from their parents?
9. Peter won't lend his car to anyone.
10. Will your mother loan you some money?

*The bottom line (definition)
1. The line in a financial statement that shows net income or loss.
2. The final result or statement; upshot: “The bottom line, however, is that he has escaped” (David Wise).
3. The main or essential point: “A lot can happen between now and December, but the bottom line—for now—is that the city is still heading toward default” (New York).