Loan versus lend

If you are applying for a loan from the bank, you will want to ensure that your writing is impeccably professional. Proper word choice is an important part of formal writing.

English has many words that refer to the borrowing of goods and money. Two of the most common words that apply to this context are loan and lend. Do they mean the same thing? Or, are there specific circumstances in which one or the other is more appropriate?

Continue reading for an explanation of the differences between these two words.

What is the Difference Between Loan and Lend?

In this article, I will compare loan vs. lend. I will use each word in an example sentence to demonstrate its proper context and meaning.

Plus, I will reveal a useful mnemonic that can help you remember if loan or lend is the correct choice for your writing.

When to Use Loan

Loan versus LendWhat does loan mean? Loan is a noun that means something that one lends, with the expectation that will be returned.

  • I asked the bank for a loan to start a bakery, but I did not have any collateral.
  • “What will happen if I cannot repay my student loan?” the freshman asked.
  • “Consider the motorcycle a long-term loan,” said Chet. “Keep it safe for me while I’m in Spain.”
  • Auto lenders are scaling back loans to subprime borrowers but loosening other terms in a bid to keep loan volume going. –The Wall Street Journal

To see if loan can be a verb, continue reading.

When to Use Lend

Loan versus LendWhat does lend mean? Lend is a verb that means to grant someone the use of something with the expectation that it will be returned.

Here are some example sentences,

  • “I would lend Bryan my tools, because I know that he will return them,” said Gary.
  • If you lend money to your family members, be prepared for subsequent conversations about why they haven’t given it back yet.
  • You should never lend money that you do not have.

Lend is also used figuratively to mean to suggest or to add, especially in reference to appearances or qualities.

For example,

  • Wearing an elegant watch can lend a touch of formality to your appearance.
  • Experience with death does not lend wisdom to physicians any more than to undertakers. –Bernard Lown
  • My hope is that the perspective I lend here can help the brave participants, and you, to transcend the diet mentality and land on a way of eating, a lifestyle, that is ultimately sustainable and satisfying beyond this month-long challenge. –The Washington Post

In this figurative sense, lend, and only lend, is the correct choice.

Lend vs. Loan: Key Differences

Loan versus LendThe confusion between these two words is whether or not loan can be used as a verb.

In strict usage, loan is the noun, and lend is the verb.

In other words, I apply for a loan from a bank. The bank then lends me the money.

Style guides differ on whether or not loan can be used as a verb.

Garner’s Modern American English and The Chicago Manual of Style state that loan can only be used as a verb when dealing with money (as distinguished from the lending of things, cars, plates, books, etc.).

  • The bank would not loan me the money.
  • The bank would not lend me the money.

In this case, both are accepted.

In other cases, however, the traditional rules would apply.

  • Will you lend me your car?


  • Will you loan me your car?

The AP Stylebook prefers the traditional usage across the board.

  • Loan is a noun.
  • Lend is a verb.

Ultimately, loan is on its way to becoming fully accepted as a verb—save the figurative sense (see below). But, in the meantime, it would be wise to adhere to the traditional distinctions between lend and loan—at least in your professional writing.

Loan versus LendOne last note: as was mentioned in the above section, the figurative sense of lend cannot be substituted with the verb loan.

To take our example,

  • Experience with death does not lend wisdom to physicians any more than to undertakers.

-cannot become-

  • Experience with death does not loan wisdom to physicians any more than to undertakers.

Trick to Remember the Difference

Lend and loan refer to similar concepts. However, in strict usage, lend is a verb, whereas loan is a noun.

To help you remember this, remember that lend is spelled with the letter E

Borrow, Lend, Loan

Loan versus Lend
She wants to borrow €100 but I can only lend €20.
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What’s the difference between borrow, lend, and loan? Two of them are synonyms and the third is the opposite – lend me your eyes and I’ll tell you about them.


Borrow means to take something from someone, with permission and with the intention of giving it back. The past tense and past participle is borrowed.

  • Can I borrow the car?
  • You can borrow a pen from him.
  • I need to borrow some money.
  • What happened to the books I borrowed from the library?


Lend is just the opposite – it means to give something to someone, with the expectation that s/he will return it. The past tense and past participle is lent.

  1. Yes, I’ll lend you the car.
  2. He’ll be happy to lend you a pen.
  3. I can’t afford to lend you any money.
  4. The library lent me those books three weeks ago.

Lend can also be used figuratively, to mean to contribute, impart, or offer:

  • Lend me a hand (Help me).
  • The yellow wall will lend a feeling of warmth.
  • Your story lends itself to numerous interpretations.


Loan is a synonym for lend, used by Americans, but only for the concrete meaning (the opposite of “borrow”), not the figurative one. The past tense and past participle is loaned.

  1. Yes, I’ll loan you the car.
  2. He’ll be happy to loan you a pen.
  3. I can’t afford to loan you any money.
  4. The library loaned me those books three weeks ago.

Loan is also a noun, which indicates whatever object was loaned.

I’ll have to get a loan to buy this house.

The loan of my car was on condition that you fill it with gas.

The Bottom Line

Borrow means “to take (temporarily),” while lend and loan mean “to give (temporarily).

” If you continue to have trouble with this, try substituting “take” for borrow and “give” for lend or loan – the correct word will immediately be clear.

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You can only borrow something from someone: “Loan (or lend) me a pen” is correct, “Borrow me a pen” is not. (Just as “give me a pen” is right, but “take me a pen” isn’t.)

More English Difficulties

  • Affect vs Effect
  • Bad vs Badly
  • Principal vs Principle
  • Than vs Then

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Loan versus Lend

Долговые муки: borrow, lend, owe или loan?

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Loan versus LendЕсть такая пословица: хочешь потерять друга – одолжи ему денег. Не берусь судить, ведь ситуации в жизни бывают разные. Однако точно знаю, что изучающие английский язык часто путают глаголы to borrow, to lend, to owe и to loan. И тогда банк вдруг занимает деньги у клиента, а бедный студент вместо долгожданной ссуды получает кредит под проценты. Давайте разберемся в разнице значений этих глаголов, чтобы больше их не путать.

Употребление глагола to borrow

Глагол to borrow употребляют, когда берут что-то с обещанием вернуть. Речь может идти не только о деньгах, но и о книге, ручке или других предметах. На русский язык этот глагол переводится как «занимать», «брать в долг», «брать на время», реже – «заимствовать». Например:

Can I borrow some money? – Могу я занять немного денег?

She borrowed a book from the library. – Она взяла книгу в библиотеке.

He had to borrow a pen to finish the essay. – Ему пришлось одолжить ручку, чтобы дописать сочинение.

Some words in English were borrowed from French. – Некоторые слова в английском языке были заимствованы из французского.

Полезные словосочетания с to borrow

  • To borrow from somebody – занимать у кого-либо.
    They always borrow money from us. – Они все время берут у нас деньги взаймы.
  • To borrow heavily – влезать в долги, много занимать.
    He borrowed heavily and now he has to sell his car. – Он погряз в долгах, и сейчас ему придется продать машину.
  • To borrow trouble – напрашиваться на неприятности.
    If you don’t stop bothering their dog, you will definitely borrow trouble. – Если ты не прекратишь дразнить их собаку, ты точно нарвешься на неприятности.

Производные от глагола to borrow

  • A borrower – заемщик, берущий взаймы.
    High interest rates are bad news for borrowers. – Высокие процентные ставки – плохая новость для заемщиков.
  • Borrowing – заимствование, одалживание.
    Borrowing money is not a pleasant act. – Одалживание денег – неприятная процедура.

Употребление глагола to lend

Глагол to lend (lent, lent) употребляют в противоположном к to borrow значении – давать кому-то в долг деньги или предмет на время. To lend переводится как «давать в долг», «одалживать», реже – «давать»/«придавать» в значении наделения каким-то качеством или характеристикой.

I hate lending money. – Я ненавижу давать деньги в долг.

I can’t lend you this CD because it’s not mine. – Я не могу одолжить тебе этот диск, потому что он чужой.

Полезные словосочетания с to lend

  • To lend to somebody – давать в долг кому-либо.
    She often lends money to her sister. – Она часто одалживает деньги своей сестре.
  • To lend an ear / one’s ears (to) – выслушать кого-то.
    If you lend an ear to me, I will explain everything to you. – Я все тебе объясню, если ты выслушаешь меня.
  • To lend a (helping) hand – помочь (физически или морально).
    Can you lend me a hand with this fridge? – Поможешь мне с этим холодильником?
    I will lend you a hand with physics if you want. – Я помогу тебе с физикой, если захочешь.
  • To lend color to – делать более правдоподобным, интересным.
    Your clever comments lent color to the slideshow of your project. – Твои остроумные комментарии сделали презентацию твоего проекта еще более интересной.

Производные от глагола to lend

  • A lender – кредитор, дающий взаймы.
    The lender decides what interest rate to charge. – Кредитор определяет уровень процентной ставки.

Употребление глагола to owe

Глагол to owe употребляется в значении «быть должным/обязанным», «быть в долгу». О чем может идти речь? Первый вариант – о возврате денежного долга или предмета, который был взят на временное пользование. Второй вариант – о моральном долге или благодарности, к примеру, за оказанную помощь.

He owes me some money. – Он должен мне денег.

They owe their success to their parents. – Своим успехом они обязаны родителям.

Полезные словосочетания с to owe

  • To owe to somebody – быть обязанным/должным кому-либо.
    She owes $50 to them. – Она должна им 50 долларов.
  • To owe (no) thanks to – (не) иметь причин для благодарности.
    We owe no thanks to him for his behavior. – Из-за его поведения у нас нет причин быть ему благодарными.
  • To owe somebody a living – быть обязанным обеспечивать кого-то. Этой фразой мы выражаем неодобрение поведения тех людей, которые не прикладывают никаких усилий, но ожидают финансовой поддержки или других благ.
    They think the world owes them a living. – Они думают, что весь мир им должен.
  • I owe you one – я твой должник, с меня причитается.
    Thanks a lot for your help, I owe you one. – Спасибо огромное за помощь, теперь я у тебя в долгу.
  • Owing to – благодаря, вследствие, по причине, из-за.
    Many unemployed people have good workplaces owing to the new governmental project. – Много безработных были удачно трудоустроены благодаря новой государственной программе.

Давайте повторим разницу между to borrow, to lend и to owe, посмотрев небольшое видео:

Полезные слова и выражения из видео:

  • to cause confusion – вызвать замешательство;
  • an urgent need – срочная необходимость;
  • in a tough spot – в трудной ситуации;
  • to help out – выручить;
  • to repay back – возвращать/выплачивать;
  • the entire amount – полная сумма;
  • a chart – схема/таблица.

Употребление глагола to loan

Глагол to loan является синонимом to lend, однако употребляется именно в американском английском. В британском же английском это слово в качестве глагола употребляется крайне редко, но можно встретить a loan как существительное со значением «заем», «ссуда», «кредит».

I loaned that book to my friend. – Я одолжил ту книгу моему другу.

The bank loan was enough to pay all the bills. – Этого кредита хватило на то, чтобы погасить все долги.

Мы подробно рассмотрели 4 глагола, которые используются, когда речь заходит о долгах. Надеемся, что приведенные выше примеры помогли вам понять разницу между to borrow, to lend, to owe и to loan. Предлагаю вам скачать список слов по теме. Кажется, я задолжала вам что-то еще… Вспомнила – тест по теме! С радостью отдаю долг 🙂

↓ Скачать список слов по теме «Долговые муки: borrow, lend, owe или loan?» (*.pdf, 188 Кб)

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​ Тест

Долговые муки: borrow, lend, owe или loan?

Loan, Lend, Loaned, Lent

Loan versus Lend

Renee wrote to us to ask:

Can you please clarify the proper way to use these words: loan, lend, loaned, lent? Thank you!

If you’ll lend me a few minutes of your time, Renee, I’d be glad to!

How to use the word “loan” as a noun and verb

  • The word loan is most commonly used as a noun, and usually means a sum of money which will be paid back with interest (though can refer to any item which is borrowed temporarily.) This is the definition from Merriam-Webster:
  • 1 a: money lent at interest b: something lent usually for the borrower’s temporary use
  • For example, the word “loan” is a noun in all of these sentences:
  • I took out a loan to pay for my new car.
  • If you can’t get another loan, you’ll have to save up.”
  • The loan of your car was very helpful to me.

Loan can also be used as a verb in American English, and can replace “lend” when the meaning is (from Merriam-Webster):

(1): to give for temporary use on condition that the same or its equivalent be returned (2): to put at another’s temporary disposal b: to let out (money) for temporary use on condition of repayment with interest

Note that “lend” is used almost exclusively in British English except for when referring to the formal act of borrowing money at interest. “Loan” can sound odd or old-fashioned, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary states:

Although a surprising number of critics still voice objections, loan is entirely standard as a verb. You should note that it is used only literally; lend is the verb used for figurative expressions, such as “lending a hand” or “lending enchantment.”

Examples of loan being used as a verb are:

  • Please could you loan me some money.
  • I’ll loan him the car if he really needs it.

When can “lend” be used instead of “loan”?

In many cases, the verb lend can be substituted for the verb loan – note that lend can never be used as a noun, though. (“I took out a lend to pay for my new car” doesn’t make sense!) Lend doesn’t have the same connotations of a financial transaction as loan, and you can lend both physical objects and intangible concepts. For example:

  • I will lend you my bicycle so you can get to work on time.
  • When I’ve finished reading my book, I’ll lend it to you.
  • Could you lend a hand with this suitcase?
  • The new carpet lends the room a cheerful air.

What should “lent” and “loaned” be used?

The word lent is the past tense of the verb to lend. For example:

  • I lent you my bicycle last week. Why haven’t you given it back yet?
  • When I lent you my book, you promised not to write in it.
  • No-one lent a hand with my suitcase.

(If you’re used to British English, be careful not to confuse this with leant, the past tense of the verb to lean, which is pronounced in the same way. If you’re American, you’ll probably use “leaned”, but British English uses “leant” and this can cause a lot of confusion.)

The word loaned is the past tense of the verb to loan. For example:

  • He loaned me a thousand pounds to start my business.
  • If you had loaned me the money when I asked for it, I’d have succeeded.
  • When I loaned him my tractor, I had no idea what he was going to do with it.

Hope that clarifies the use of “loan, lend, loaned and lent”, and do ask in the comments – or on the Daily Writing Tips forum – if there’s anything you’re still unclear on.

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Keep learning! Browse the Misused Words category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:

Lend vs. loan

Traditionally, loan is a noun and lend is a verb. While a minority of writers still observe this distinction, loan is now well established as a verb and probably isn’t going to go away.

English reference books tend to cite this use of loan as primarily North American. While this was once the case, the verb loan now appears everywhere. To loan someone money and to lend someone money are essentially the same.

Still, honoring the traditional distinction is not wrong.


Loan as a verb

The 29 year-old has suffered a high-profile gambling addiction and was loaned £250,000 by the club. [Telegraph]

The museum displayed it until 1950 and then loaned it to other museums until 1970, when it was returned. [Newsday]

Lend as a verb

The proposal was also intended to strengthen the rescue fund by allowing it to lend all its 440 billion euros, and perhaps use the money more flexibly. [Reuters]

Mortgage lenders are slashing the amount they lend to couples with children and older borrowers over the age of 55 are having trouble too. [Sydney Morning Herald]

What Is The Difference Between Loan, Lend, Loaned, And Lent?

You would not be wrong if you interchange loan and lend—they do in fact mean the same thing in most instance. The words loan and loaned are the present and past tenses of to loan. Lend and lent are the present and past tenses of to lend. As verbs, loan and lend are often used interchangeably.

For example, “A bank loans people money to buy a home. It also lends borrowers money to buy a car.”Loan and lend also have identical meanings when they’re used in the past tense. For instance, you could say, “The bank loaned me money at six percent interest,” or “The bank lent me the money at 6 percent interest.

” Either one is correct.

Loan is both a noun and a verb

Loan, is typically used in the context of someone supplying something to another person. As a noun, it refers to a sum of money that’s provided on the condition that it’s to be paid back. For example: “Her friend was kind enough to give her a loan of $100.”

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Sometimes you might hear items or even people being referred to as on loan. A book might be “on loan from the library.” A substitute teacher might be “on loan to the school.” Just know that this is an expression that doesn’t conform to typical grammar rules. It’s an informal way of using the word.

Lend has many meanings

Sometimes lend means “to impart a quality to something.

” An example of this can be found in the essay “Former Inhabitants; and Winter Visitors” by Henry David Thoreau: “But history must not yet tell the tragedies enacted here; let time intervene in some measure to assuage and lend an azure tint to them.

Lend can also mean “to adapt oneself (or itself) to something.” For example, “A large basement lends itself to many uses, such as a playroom or an office.”Lend can also be used in a figurative way.

For instance, in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Marc Antony says, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.” He obviously isn’t asking the citizens of Rome to give him their ears in a literal sense. Rather, he’s asking them to listen to him.

Borrow vs. loan and lend

Sometimes in casual speech the words loan and lend are confused with the word borrow. For example, someone might ask, “Can you borrow me some money for a few days?” This is a non-standard way to use borrow.

A good way to avoid this error is to remember that borrow means to take, while lend and loan mean to give.

For instance, if you ask a friend, “Can I borrow your red sweater for a few days?” she might answer, “Sure, I can lend it to you as long as you return it by Friday.”

Lend vs. Loan

While lend is used as a verb and loan is used as a noun traditionally, many writers have been using the word loan as a verb and this has spread globally, particularly in the US. This post will focus on the traditional difference between the two words and will try to help bring back the distinction.

The term lend is used as a verb which means “to grant to someone the use of something on the understanding that it shall be returned” or “to give for temporary use on condition that the same or its equivalent be returned.”

Parsley and other plants lend form to human stem cell scaffolds
Science Daily

World Bank to lend Tanzania $2.4 bln over 3 years for infrastructure projects

China Construction Bank keen to lend for infrastructure, including apartment, development, but aims to do half its lending in the home loan market

On the other hand, loan is traditionally used as a noun meaning “a thing that is borrowed, especially a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest.”

  • Amazon Banks On Its $3 Billion Loan Club
  • Tamil Nadu: Lion’s share of bank loans against gold, villages fall prey to loan sharks
    The Indian Express
  • Uganda says seeking $500 million loan from China for roads in oil area

To a lesser degree, it may be used as a noun meaning “the temporary duty of a person transferred to another job for a limited time.”

Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen explains how he’s improved on loan

However, the use of loan as a verb with the same meaning as lend has become widespread.

  1. Former staff say Cash Train loaned to problem gamblers, but payday lender denies claim
    The Guardian
  2. German bank that loaned US$300m to Trump is linked to Russian money-laundering scam
    South China Morning Post
  3. Another £25m of taxpayers’ money could be loaned to developers to build city centre apartments
    Manchester Evening News

Although the current use of loan as a verb has been accepted my many, some grammarians and traditional editors still prefer its exclusive use as a noun.

To help you remember this, keep in mind that if you want a verb, you should use lend because both have an “e” while if you need to use a noun, choose loan because both have an “o” in their spelling.

Write the Word: Loan vs. Borrow — Agriculture Communication

Despite the way “loan” and “borrow” often are used, they have different meanings and can’t be used interchangeably.

Here’s an easy way to remember the difference: “Borrow” means to take, and “loan” means to give.

More specifically, “borrow” is using something belonging to someone else with the intention of returning it. “Loan” can be a noun, such as a sum of money that you must pay back with interest, or a verb, the act of lending something to someone.

What that means is you cannot say you are “borrowing” something to someone. You are “loaning” it to him or her. For example, “I will loan you my bike for the day.” Another way to say that is: “I will lend you my bike for the day.” If using “loan” as a noun, you might say, “I need a loan to pay my college tuition.”

Another way to think of “borrow” is that the person receiving an item borrows it. For example: “Can I borrow some money from you?” You hope the response is, “Yes, I will loan you some money.”

Ellen Crawford, information specialist, (701) 231-5391

Choose the right word: rent, borrow, or lend

Non-native speakers often confuse the words rent and borrow when speaking English. This is understandable because on the surface, these words seem very similar, but actually, they are quite different.

The main difference between rent and borrow is whether or not money is paid for the use of something. When you rent something, you pay money for it. When you borrow something, you use it for free and simply return it later.

to rent [verb]—to pay to use something for a short time or on a repeating basis.
​     Let’s rent a car for our trip, rather than take the train.
     I would love to rent that apartment, but it’s too expensive.

to borrow [verb]—to use something that belongs to someone else, then return it.
     Can I borrow a pen, please?
     I forgot my wallet—can I borrow $20?

The word “rent” is also used in both directions: I'm renting my apartment from a landlord, and the landlord is renting the apartment to me.

Using “lend”

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