Confusing verb pairs- ‘Borrow’ and ‘Lend’

The very common verbs lend and borrow are confusing for many learners of English. One reason this happens is because lend and borrow have the same basic meaning, but are used for different “directions” in English.

If John needs something and Mary gives it to John for a limited time expecting that John will return it, Mary lends to John or Mary lends John and John borrows from Mary.


Mary lent $1500 to John . Mary lent John $1500.
Bill borrowed $150 from Anne.

Michelle often lends his car to Victor.
Michelle often lends Victor her car.
Victor often borrows Michelle’s car.

May I borrow your book?
Of course. I’ll be happy to lend it to you.
Of course. I’ll be happy to lend you my book.

Lend shows that something is temporarily given to another person. Borrow shows that something is temporarily taken from another person.

lend – someone

someone – borrow

1 comment

  • Hi Niharika,
    When I wrote email in office , I feel that some time gramitical mistake and some poor content writen in email
    How Can I verifiy that thing quickly? or by using any tool?

English Trainer teacher jobs in Mumbai Thane. ESL Jobs Mumbai

English speaking lessons in Hindi - Spoken English Institute in Mumbai Thane Delhi India

1 Step 1
Don't Miss New Lessons. Subscribe!!
Nameyour full name
Get Free English Lessons on WhatsApp!