Lend vs. Borrow

Someone tweeted me this week asking me to explain the difference between lend and borrow.  I thought that other people might have this same question so I thought I’d write about it.


This word means that a person was allowed to use something for a certain amount of time and will eventually return it.  (Given to someone.)
I would love to lend you my dress. I just need it back by next week so I can wear it on a special date.


This word means that you are taking something from someone and will eventually return it.  (Taken from someone.)
Tom borrowed a shovel from me and he never returned it.

As you can see the words are very similar. The difference is the direction of the action that is taking place. Look at the picture below and see if it helps to explain these words.

4 thoughts on “Lend vs. Borrow”

  1. Great job Sholeh,
    A more fluid way to say what you wrote would be:
    Would you mind lending me your pen?
    I’ll let you borrow my motorcycle for an hour or I would like to borrow your motorcycle for an hour. (depending on who is doing the borrowing)

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