Mar 012013

From time to time we all need to borrow things. They could be small things or large things. We might want to borrow them for a short time a long time but we just need something we don’t have. When you borrow something it’s something that someone else has and you do plan to return it to him or her.


To borrow & to lend
These verbs are closely connected and are sometimes confused. In simple terms to borrow is to take and to lend is to give. The person who wants something, borrows and the person who gives something, lends.If you are taking:

  • You borrow something from someone.
  • Someone lends something to you.
  • Someone lends you something.

If you are giving:

  • You lend something to someone
  • You lend someone something
  • Someone borrows something from you

Using ‘to borrow’
The subject of the sentence is the person who wants something. In these examples the subject is ‘I’.

Can I borrow your pen please?
Could I borrow some money please?
Can I borrow your bike?

Using ‘to lend’
You can also use the verb ‘to lend‘ to ask for something. In this case the subject of the sentence is the person who has something. In these examples the subject is ‘you’.

Could you lend me your pen please?
Could you lend me some money, please?
Could you lend me your bike?

Other information
When asking to borrow something you can also give some information as to why you want to borrow something and / or how long you want to borrow it for.Could I borrow your pen for a moment? I need to sign this contract.
Can I borrow your ruler for a second.
Can I borrow £10 until tomorrow? I’ve left my purse at home.
Could you lend me your bike tools over the weekend. I’ve got to fix a puncture.
To get something back to someone
A useful phrasal verb to use for saying when you will return something you want to borrow is to get something back (to someone).to get + it / them + back (to you) + (the approximate time you will return what you have borrowed)

Can I borrow your shopping bags? I’ll get them back to you this evening.
Can you lend me some money? I’ll get it back to you tomorrow.

BBC How to… borrow Transcript Video


BBC How to… Part 5-6

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