Borrow vs. Lend vs. Rent – Confusing English Vocabulary Lesson

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For today’s English lesson, let’s look at borrow and lend. These words can be really confusing for a lot of English learners. That’s because they are very similar, but are used differently.

When you borrow something, you take it for a short amount of time. You can borrow something from someone. When you need something, you can borrow it. Borrow means take. Borrow is a regular verb, so we use borrow > borrowed > borrowed.   Here are a few examples:

  • My neighbor borrowed my garden tools.
  • I borrowed a book from the library
  • When you want to ask to borrow something, you can ask: Can I borrow your pen?

When you lend something, you give it to someone for a short amount of time. You can lend something to someone. When you have something, you can lend it. Lend means give. Lend is an irregular verb, so we use lend > lent > lent. Here are a few examples:

  • I lent my garden tools to my neighbor. (lend something to someone)
  • The library lenbds books to us.
  • We also use lend when we need something. You can ask: Can you lend me your pen?

So, there are two ways to ask when you need something you can say,

  • Can I borrow your pen? (or) Can you lend me your pen?

By the way many people confuse the past form of lend, which is lent (spelled with l) with the word rent, (spelled with r). When you rent something, you pay money to use that thing for a short amount of time.

  • I rent a car whenever I travel . This means I pay a company money to use a car for a short time.
  • I lent my car. This means I allowed someone to use my car.

If you know anyone who might be interested in this English language point, why not help them out! Just share this lesson with them. Thanks for studying today!

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