Confusing Words, What's the Difference?

End the Confusion (2): Lend or Borrow?

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LEND sth (TO sb)  / LEND sb sth

Meaning: Give something to somebody temporarily but then they have to return it.

Michael lent his computer to Charlie for the weekend.

Quick, can you lend me a pen?

I lent the money to Nicola! It wasn’t a gift! I’m expecting her to give it back.


BORROW sth (FROM sb)

Meaning: Take something temporarily that belongs to sb else with the intention of returning it.

That’s not Charlie’s computer. ¬†He’s borrowed it from Michael for the weekend.

Quick, can I borrow a pen?

Nicola’s not keeping the money. She’s just borrowing it from me.

TIP: ¬†Although the¬†prepositions TO and FROM are not always needed, by paying special attention to them, it will help you confuse ‘lend’ and ‘borrow’ less.


Fill in the gaps with ‘borrow’ or ‘lend’ (in the correct form):

1. Can I _____ ten pounds? It’s urgent.
2. Can you _____ me ten pounds? ¬†It’s urgent.
3. If you’re not using your skateboard, can I _____ it?
4. I _____ your dictionary to John yesterday.¬†I hope you don’t mind.
5. You don’t need to buy the book. I’m sure you can _____ it from the library.
6. Is that your coat? No, I’ve _____ it from my sister.
7. I’m not going to _____ my brand new camera to Alan. No way!
8. Did you _____ my scissors? I can’t find them anywhere.

Answers1. borrow  2. lend  3. borrow  4. lent  5. borrow  6. borrowed  7. lend  8. borrow

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