Loan and Borrow

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How to use the words Loan and Borrow?

In some dialects it is common to substitute “borrow” for “loan” or “lend,” as in “borrow me that hammer of yours, will you, Jeb?”

In standard English the person providing an item can loan it; but the person receiving it borrows it.

“Loan me your hat” was just as correct everywhere as “lend me your ears” until the British made “lend” the preferred verb, relegating “loan” to the thing being lent.

However, as in so many cases, Americans kept the older pattern, which in its turn has influenced modern British usage so that those insisting that “loan” can only be a noun are in the minority.

Common Errors Index

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