Borrow and Lend

Our earlier post on take and give was really just an introduction to these harder two words: borrow and lend.  

Borrow is like take, but when you borrow something, you give it back later. I can borrow your pencil now, and give it back to you when I am finished. 

Similarly, lend is like give , but when you lend something, you take it back later. I can lend you my car now, and you can give it back to me tomorrow. 

Take a look at the the grammar in this picture. 


Let's start with borrow. There are two common ways to use borrow.  The first works just like take:

Carlo is taking a pen from Kate. 

Carlo is borrowing a pen from Kate.  

Notice the preposition from. A person borrows a thing from another person. Another way to use from is with the possessive form. The pen belongs to Kate. It is Kate's pen. So we can also simply say:

Carlo is borrowing Kate's pen.  


 Many people make mistakes with borrow. Many people say Please borrow me a pen. But we can not say borrow a person! The word here is lend. Notice that the grammar for lend is exactly like the grammar for give:

Carlo is giving Kate his pen. 

Carlo is lending Kate his pen.  

We can also move the indirect object (Kate) to the end of the sentence with both lend and give :

Carlo is giving his pen to Kate.

Carlo is lending his pen to Kate.  

What you can say

In daily life, the useful sentences you may want to use are these: 

May I borrow your ____?

Could you lend me a ____?

DO NOT SAY Can you borrow me a pen.  

check out these other free grammar resources: