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All Ears English Podcast

Sep 30, 2014

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Do you borrow or lend to a friend in need?

Today, in #8 of our countdown of the Top 15 Fixes in English series, we’ll be talking about the difference between these two similar verbs!


You don’t want to let grammar get in the way of giving to or getting from your friends.  But the verbs borrow and lend are tricky because they both mean to temporarily give — and yet they are different.


The key to using these verbs is understanding that they follow perspective.  Consider who is doing the giving, and who is doing the receiving.

  • Lend focuses on the one who is giving (the one doing the action).
  • Borrow focuses on the one receiving (the one upon whom the action is done).


Here are some examples:

I asked her if I could borrow some money.

I asked her if she could lend me some money.

Did you borrow it from her?

Did she lend it to you?


Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:


Have you had trouble with borrow or lend?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!