Improve Your English – Lesson 3: The Difference between Lend/Loan/Borrow

Improve Your English – Lesson 3: The Difference between Lend/Loan/Borrow

This trio of words are regularly confused by students and, as a result, frequently used incorrectly.

Loan can be a noun as the name of a transaction where someone borrows something from someone who lends it to them.

It can also be a verb with a meaning similar to that of lend.

Lend and borrow are both verbs.

If I lend something to you (money?), I give it to you temporarily—expecting that you will return it. If I borrow something from you, I take it from you temporarily, knowing that you expect me to return it to you. I get or receive something from you.

  • Don’t say: Ramona, will you borrow me 20 pesos?
  • Do say: Ramona, will you lend (or loan) me 20 pesos so I can buy lunch today?
  • She might say: Of course, I will be glad to lend (or loan) you 20 pesos!

or

  • Don’t say: Su-Hyun, may I lend 5000 won from you?
  • Do say: Su-Hyun, may I borrow 5000 won from you so I can buy lunch today?
  • She might say: Of course, I will be glad to lend (or loan) you 5000 won!
    Just as common:
  • Do say: Can I borrow your cell phone for a moment? I need to call home.
  • Do say: Would you lend (or loan) your cell phone to me for a moment? I need to call home.

Note that I borrow something from you, but you lend something to me. Or, I may lend something to you, but you borrow something from me. Remember: lend to, borrow from

Using loan as a noun:
Do say: Jacque’s loan (not lend) was for 50 francs.

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