Lend and Borrow – What’s the difference?

Lend and borrow are very common verbs and they’re often confused by English learners.

In some languages just one word covers both their meanings. In English they describe the same action, but from two different directions. Lending is like temporary giving, and borrowing is like temporary taking.


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Lend Borrow Video Script

It’s raining. Can I borrow and umbrella?
Sure, here you are.
Thanks.

Can I borrow your car?
Sure.
Thanks.

In many languages there’s just one verb for this action, but in English, there are two: lend and borrow.

Oh. Can you lend me your glasses?
What?
Can I borrow your glasses?
Sure.
Thank you. Yay.

Lending is like giving and borrowing is like taking, and they’re temporary activities.

Oh, well give me your number. Give me your pen. I need it. Just for a moment.
You’ll give it back?
I just want to borrow it. Sorry, what was that?

So lending – giving temporarily. And borrowing – taking temporarily. Borrow is a regular verb – borrow, borrowed, borrowed. Lend is an irregular verb – lend, lent, lent.

Did I lend either of you my ipod?
No. I can’t remember who I lent it to.

Banks lend people money, and the money they borrow is a loan.

How much does the truck cost?
One hundred thousand dollars.
One hundred thousand dollars?
We’ll have to borrow the money from the bank.
That’s right. I’ve already spoken to them.
They’ll lend us that much money?
Yes.
How soon will they give us the loan?
How are we going to pay it back?
Well we could cut one of our staff?

So when we borrow money, we have to return it – pay it back.

Here’s that fifty dollars I borrowed.
Oh. Actually you owe me fifty five.
I thought you lent me fifty.
Five dollars interest.
Huh!

So interest is the money we have to pay for borrowing money. And sometimes we need to leave security for a loan.

And finally this news from New York’s Bank of Southern Manhattan. Last week a British woman asked to borrow just twenty dollars, and offered to leave her three hundred thousand dollar Rolls Royce as security. The bank manager took the car and lent her the money. Today she repaid the loan and drove off in her Rolls. We asked her why she’d leave her expensive car as security for just a twenty dollar loan.
Well, how else could I find parking in New York for a week for only twenty dollars?

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