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Borrow, Lend and Loan


Borrow, Lend and Loan teaches students the difference between the words borrow, lend and loan. Many students request help with Borrow, Lend and Loan because the words can be confusing due to their similar definitions. While choosing between them can be difficult, if you read this guide you’ll quickly see the difference.


Borrow (verb)

to take something with a promise it will be returned

Lend (verb)

to give something with a promise it will be returned

(*Notice that Borrow and Lend are opposites*)


Loan (as a verb)

       the act of lending

Loan (as a noun)

something loaned that will be returned (often money or other possessions – for example, you give a loan of $5 to a friend)




Sample Sentences



I need to borrow your pen for a minute, please!


Did he lend you his car for the weekend?

Loan (verb)

Can you loan me a few dollars? I’ll pay you back.

Loan (noun)

The bank gave me a loan for $10,000.




Sample Conversation


Mark: Can I borrow your book? I’ll give it back tomorrow!

Alice: I will lend it to you, but I really need it back. Please make sure you remember to bring it!

Mark: Don’t worry! I’ll remember! Thanks for loaning me the book, Alice.




Your Huge Hint


If you are thinking about which word to use, remember - borrow means to take, but lend and loan mean to give.

Sentence: “I want to borrow your iPad.” Replace borrow with take. Does “I want to take your iPad” make sense? Yes it does, so the sentence is correct.

Sentence: “Borrow me your book.” Replace borrow with take. Does “Take me your book” make sense? No it doesn’t, so the sentence is incorrect.


The same thing applies with loan and lend.

Sentence: "Lend me a dollar." Replace lend with “Give.” Does "Give me a dollar" make sense? The sentence makes sense and is correct.

Sentence: "Can I loan your pen?" Replace loan with “give.” Does "Can I give your pen?" make sense? The sentence doesn’t make sense and is incorrect.





Grammar and Writing Guide

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