Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

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?


Lindsay and Aubrey are college roommates, and Aubrey needs to borrow Lindsay’s car.

Aubrey: Hey Lindsay, I need a favor!

Lindsay: Sure, what’s up?

Aubrey: I need to borrow your car again! I need to pick up my mom from the airport.

Lindsay: Sure, I can lend you my car. When is she flying in?

Aubrey: Thank you! She gets here Friday night. I think last time I borrowed your car it was a Friday night, too. Random!

Lindsay: I don’t even remember that! When did I lend it to you?

Aubrey: This was a few months ago. I borrowed it to pick up groceries.

Lindsay: Oh yeah, that’s right. I don’t mind lending it to you- I trust you to take care of it.

Aubrey: For sure. And I’ll return it with a full tank of gas! I try to do that when I borrow a car.

Lindsay: Thank you! I appreciate that.


Other Entries in the 15 Fixes Series:


Have you had trouble with borrow or lend?

Tell us your story in the comments section below!


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