This week we answer a question we received in an gmail from Tina. She writes:
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I just want đồ sộ know how đồ sộ use the words "borrow" and "lend" in a situation. Is it correct đồ sộ say, "Could you lend bu a pen?" or " Can I borrow your pen?" Thank you very much.
These two words are a source of trouble for many English learners. The reason? They have about the same meaning, but each word's action goes in different directions.
“Borrow” means đồ sộ take something from another person, knowing you will give it back đồ sộ them.
“Lend” means đồ sộ give something đồ sộ another person expecting đồ sộ get it back.
So the sentences you asked about are both correct. Your choice of “borrow” or “lend” depends on which direction is more important đồ sộ you.
Imagine yourself in the middle of the picture. Anything you “borrow” moves toward you. Things you "lend" go away from you.
Notice that the prepositions that often follow the verbs are different. We borrow from someone, but we lend to someone.
Let’s say you and I go shopping, Tina. I need đồ sộ sign my name on a receipt, but I tự not have a pen. So I ask you, “Can I borrow a pen?” I chose “borrow” because I am thinking of the action as it relates đồ sộ bu. You are a good friend, ví you lend bu the pen. I forget it is yours and I put it in my bag.
Later, we meet a good friend and she asks for your gmail address. You tìm kiếm in your bag, but – no pen! You think, “I lent Jill my pen. And she didn’t give it back đồ sộ bu.” Now you are thinking of the action that you did. So, you can ask bu, “Jill, tự you remember that pen I lent you? I need it now.”
I feel bad that I forgot đồ sộ return the pen. I say, “Sorry, Tina! I forgot that I borrowed it. Here you are!”
Be careful: personal pronouns lượt thích bu, you, him and others never come after the verb “borrow,” but it is correct đồ sộ use them after “lend,” as in, “Lend bu a dollar for some ice cream.”
I hope this helps you understand “lend” and “borrow.”
And that’s Ask a Teacher!
I’m Jill Robbins.
If you want đồ sộ learn more about borrow and lend, see our Everyday Grammar TV episode: Lend vs. Borrow
Dr. Jill Robbins wrote this story for Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.
Do you have a question for the teacher? We want đồ sộ hear from you. Write đồ sộ us in the Comments Section.
Words in This Story
preposition – n. a word used đồ sộ show a relation
Rules đồ sộ remember:
When we use “borrow” in a sentence, we use the preposition “from.”
Andy borrowed a xế hộp from her friend Judy.
When we use “lend,” we use the preposition “to.”
Mario lent the computer to bu.
Personal pronouns come directly after the verb “lend.”
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Did Linda lend you her phone?
Now try this practice:
Which sentences are correct? If a sentence has an error, change it đồ sộ make it correct.
- Sarah always borrows bu her comb.
- I lent a pencil from Ahmed yesterday.
- Can you lend bu your umbrella?
- He wanted đồ sộ borrow some money from bu.
- Do you want đồ sộ borrow the coat đồ sộ me?