Borrow/Lend

Introduction

Borrow and lend have similar meanings but use them differently. Here, we explain the different uses of the verbs borrow in lend in English.

David and Lily love books! Lilly borrows books from the library every week.

David is planning to open a bookshop and the bank has just lent him money.

When the bookshop opens Elsa will lend David a helping hand.

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Borrow

  • take something that doesn’t belong to you to use for a period of time and then return it
Example:
Lily borrows books from the library.
  • take money from a person or bank and agree to pay it back (of a bank, usually with interest)
Example:
David borrowed money from the bank in order to open his book shop.
  • to take words from another language, or ideas from another person
Example:
English borrows many words from French.

Lend

  • give somebody something to use for a period and then return
Example:
The library lends books to people.
  • give money to somebody who agrees to pay it back (of a bank, usually with interest)
Example:
The bank lent David money to open his book shop.
  • offer help or support
Example:
When the bookshop opens, Elsa and Lily will lend David a helping hand.

Borrowing and Lending Money

Borrow and lend usually take a direct object. That means we borrow/lend something. But when we talk about money, we can use these verbs without a direct object. In this case, it is clear that we are talking about money.

Example:
David didn’t want to borrow from a bank.
He wanted to borrow from his parents, who would never charge interest.
Unfortunately, his parents couldn’t lend to him.