October 15, 2017

The difference between "borrow" and "lend", and how to use them in a sentence

“Please, borrow me your pen.” and “I borrowed him my pen.” are common expressions in this part of the world where English is taught and learnt as a second language. The incorrectness of these expressions is hidden under the ignorance of their users.
The difference between "borrow" and "lend", and how to use them in a sentence

Although they chiefly function as verbs, Borrow and lend are not clad with the same semantic attire. While the latter indicates an action of giving out, the former simply means to receive. In other words, to lend means “to give out your belonging to another person for him or her to use, on a condition that it will be returned.” But to borrow means “to receive something from somebody temporarily, expecting to return it.” Therefore, it is very wrong to say, for example, “Please, borrow me your pen.” or “He borrowed me his pen.” We should rather say, “Can I borrow your pen?” or “He lent me his pen.” respectively.

How to use “borrow” and “lend” in sentences

1. Can I borrow your pen? The speaker is asking if he/she can receive the pen from its owner.

2. He lent me his pen. In this case, he gave it to you.

3. She borrowed his book. This means she received it.

4. I will lend you my shoes. This means I will give you my shoes. 

In sum, you borrow from someone whereas you lend to someone.

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