Hey there! This is TOP episode 148: Lend vs Borrow
My name’s Ola I teach English since 2012 and I believe you can eliminate your language blockade. The secret word here is consistency. There are other secret words too. That is why I record this podcast’s episodes, and each comes with a little worksheet, a one-pager to help you digest and test what you’ve practised here. You can speak English with more confidence, slay that fear and enjoy fluent communication.
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Hello hello! Thank you for pressing or tapping ‘play’. Lend vs borrow. These two words are a source of confusion for many English learners. The reason is, they have about the same meaning, but they differ in the direction so to speak. The subject and/or the object of the sentence are not the same.
I’ll become clear in a moment. Trust me.
But first, let me remind you that you can meet me live on Instagram every Thursday at 11 am I jump in live just for a quick chat, 20 minutes or so to discuss some language-related tips. Join me this Thursday at 11:00 live on Instagram! Those videos, Top Talks are later uploaded on YouTube and Facebook so choose the place you fancy and have a listen. Don’t forget to leave a comment.
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‘Lend’ means ‘give something to someone for a short time, expecting that you will get it back. The past simple form is ‘lent’ with ‘t’ and the past participle form is the same as past simple, so again ‘lent’. Lend – lent – lent. Two example sentences, just listen:
I lent Ana my books in English.
I rarely lend money.
Borrow means ‘to get something from someone, intending to give it back after a short time’. This is a regular verb, so the past and past participle are the same: borrowed, borrowed. Two example sentences:
I decided not to buy a tent and so I borrowed it.
Adam used to borrow my clothes when we were roommates.
They are extremely similar, and for speakers of many languages, the confusion stems from the fact they have one word for both directions. Like in Polish for instance. Pożycz mi, ja pożyczyłam to od kogoś. In English:
I borrowed it from someone.
How to differentiate between the two and never struggle with the choice? I have a little trick that has helped me and my students. Try to memorize that ‘lend’ means ‘give’.
I gave you my pen. = I lend you my pen.
Can you give me your book?
Can you lend me your book?
After all, lend means give for some time. Not forever.
Borrow on the other hand is very similar to ‘get’ or ‘take’. Or to ‘receive’. For instance:
I received a dress. = I borrowed a dress.
I received a tent. = I borrowed a tent.
Borrow means to receive for some time. Not forever.
I borrowed a dress, I received it for some time. I didn’t give it, I didn’t lend it. Quite the opposite! I borrowed a dress, I got it, I took it, I received it.
Now. The essential thing to embrace now is how to memorize which is which. Let’s test it! Do you remember what word can replace ‘lend’ and what replaces ‘borrow’? Give, get? Get, give?
Listen. Lend and give have the same number of letters. So that’s how I memorized that they share the same meaning. 4 letters! This is just mnemonics.
And now, ‘borrow’ means ‘get’ or ‘take’ but I prefer the word ‘receive’. Borrow and receive don’t have the same number of letters though they have the same number of syllables, in other words, they are long words. ‘Borrow’ means ‘receive’. Not ‘give’, because borrow is a long word, like ‘receive’.
Listen again, don’t multitask and listen carefully, please focus.
Lend. Give. I can give you my pen. I can lend you my pen.
Borrow. Receive. I received her pen. I borrowed her pen.
Now, listen to these examples and try to notice if the meaning comes any faster now that you understand the rule. Ok? Listen up!
Can I borrow your dictionary?
May I borrow your pen?
I borrowed Adam’s jacket.
I let them borrow my equipment.
I can’t lend you this.
Lend your sister a car for the day.
My granny is lending me her necklace for the party.
Would you lend me some cash?
That’s pretty much it for today. But I’ve got some additional tips.
Firstly, we don’t borrow nor lend things that can’t move. You don’t borrow or lend a kitchen, or swimming pool, or garage, or washing machine, or office. What you should say is: ‘use’.
Can I use your garage?
Can I use you washing machine? Mine’s out of whack.
She uses my office while I’m on holiday.
Secondly. Notice that the prepositions that often follow the verbs are different. We borrow from someone, but we lend to someone.
I don’t have my car this week, I’ve lent it to my sister.
It’s not my bike. I borrowed it from Adam.
The third tip is don’t add personal pronouns after the verb ‘borrow’. OK? So you don’t say: I borrowed her my bag. her, him, me, you, them – these are personal pronouns you don’t use after ‘borrow’. Just like they wouldn’t work after ‘receive’. Receive me is wrong and borrow me is equally incorrect.
Still, personal pronouns work just fine after ‘lend’. For instance:
Lend me 20 euros. ‘Me’ is ok after ‘lend’ because it’s correct after ‘give’, right? Give me 20 euros. Lend me 20 euros.
Now, let’s practice. Listen and repeat out loud:
Did Linda lend you her phone?
Can I borrow $10?
Can you lend me $10?
I don’t remember when was the last time I borrowed a book from a library.
I don’t like to borrow money from my friends.
Don’t lend him your car, he’s a terrible driver.
I used to borrow my sister’s clothes when we lived together.
You borrowed my tennis rockets but you haven’t given them back yet.
I can lend you some money if you need any.
I lent Ana my books in English.
I rarely lend money.
You nailed it! Now, go to your inbox, get the worksheet and practice some more. If you aren’t a member of TOPeople download the worksheet from teacherola.com/148.
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Thank for tuning in and I’ll see you next Wednesday! It’s gonna be about spaced repetition. Happy learning. Take care! Stay fearless and say it out loud! Bye!