Lend vs. Borrow | How to tell the difference between the two.

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If you want to learn English or are wondering how to improve your English, you can start by understanding the difference between similar words. One such set of words is lend and borrow. Knowing the difference will help you in improving your English conversations. This usually happens because these words have the same base meaning but are used to describe different actions.

Lend (verb) means to give something to someone for a short time while expecting that you will get it back. The second and third form of this verb are lent. The word lended does not exist.


-I never lend money to Abha.

-I lent my Science book to Babita yesterday.

Borrow (verb) means to get something from someone with an intention to give it back after a short period of time.


-I have borrowed some money from Abha.

-I borrowed Babita’s science book yesterday.

Remember that both, lend and borrow, are used for temporary activities.

Typical errors

  1. When you give something, you lend it; when you get or receive something, you borrow it:

         Can I borrow your pen?

         Not: Can I lend your pen?

         This is incorrect because we are asking someone to give us something. The action

         of the question is giving. Therefore, we must use “lend”.


  1. Do not use “since” with lend and borrow. For example:

          I have lent him my car.

          Not: I have lent him my car since last Monday.

          I have borrowed 20 rupees from Chethan.

          Not: I have borrowed 20 rupees from Chethan since this morning.

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