Borrow Me a Pen or Lend Me a Pen?


Can you borrow me a pen? Can you lend me a pen? Which one is correct? Listen to this episode to find out! Plus, learn some new vocabulary! Enjoy :)



Hello guys and girls, you are listening to English Made Simple, this is episode number 74, numero setenta y cuatro.

Welcome to today’s episode of English Made Simple, episode number 74, yeeey! How’s it going everyone? Anyone watching the tennis? Australian Open? I stopped watching when Djokovic lost, boooo. Damn it, now I have to cheer for Nadal, my husband is quite happy about that. He wanted to see Djokovic lose. Whatever you know what I am saying…

I forgot to introduce myself, ‘scuse my manners, my name is Milena from
In today’s episode we are going to learn the difference between to borrow and to lend. I hear many English learners’ get confused with this one. I used to be confused myself when I was learning English – back in the day, do we say Can you borrow me your pen? Or Can you lend me your pen? I think in Spanish we use 1 word when we lend or borrow stuff to and from your friends. In Spanish it is prestar.

Before we go any further, I’d like to send a shout out to another raving fan of English Made Simple, Sergío de Santiago, to send a shout out means to send a greeting. It’s slang, we’ve learnt this one before, you can use it with your friends. So, I am sending a shout to Sergio from Chile. So Sergio had some great ideas for the show, things like how to use English in a more practical way, for example at a pharmacy, supermarket, train station or even during times when you are being asked by your relatives to pick up their kids from school. Haha yup, I am going to add it to my list. It’s coming soon, so keep listening amigo.

I love hearing your comments guys, I am glad to know you guys are learning something new in each and every episode of English Made Simple. It’s good to know that there are people out there listening, it definitely keeps me going!

Awesome, let’s continue chicos.

Let’s start off with a simple explanation of these verbs to Lend and To Borrow.
To Lend is an irregular verb, (spelt as L E N D) the past tense is lent (with a T) and participle lent, and Borrow (spelt as B O RR O W). It is a regular verb, past tense is borrowed, participle borrowed.

Let me explain it to you in layman’s terms, in a language that’s easy to understand. In layman’s terms is the expression we learnt in the last episode. Go back to episode #73 to remind yourselves of these expressions, using lay and lie. Oki doki, cool stuff!
To Lend means to give something temporarily with the intention of returning it in the near future, so in months or in a couple of days. Basically, you will give it back at some point.

To Borrow means to take something temporarily with the intention of returning it in the near future.

To make a simple association, please remember these two keywords. To Lend is often associated with the verb To Give. To Borrow is associated with the word To Take.
To Lend is to Give, and to Borrow is to Take.
Easy peasy japanesy.

Both of these can be used with a time-marker for (por) – The time marker FOR, indicates the length of time the borrowed item is expected to be returned. Let me give you a quick and simple example to explain this:
Hey Carlos, can I just borrow your pen for a couple of minutes?

If I just say Hey Carlos, can I borrow your pen? Ok it’s not a biggie if I never return this pen to Carlos, the pen is not that expensive, so Carlos can live without the pen. So it’s not such a serious situation, you can get away without using the time-marker for.

Now let’s consider the following context, hey Carlos: can I borrow $500 dollars? Uhmmmm, ok maybe I need to know if you are going to return it, so it would be nice to know when you will return it. Because, maybe Carlos can’t live without his $500, he needs to pay his rent for example. A proper way to ask would be, Hey Carlos, can I borrow $500 for a month? I will return the money next month.
Cool, simple example! I hope you are following me so far guys!

TIme to get serious!

As of recently, living in Australia has become really expensive, buying a property in Australia can cost an arm and a leg – way too expensive for someone on an average salary to afford a house. You can’t buy it with cash. So what people normally do is go to the bank and ask for a loan.

A loan – is a noun, it’s the money you owe to someone – normally a financial institution that you have to pay back with interest.

In the US you can use this word loan instead of lend. In the US you could even say, hey Carlos can you loan me your pen? Instead of: Can you lend me your pen. For us who are used to the British way of speaking English, this phrase sounds unnatural and weird but in the US it’s quite normal to use Loan as a verb. You could say Loan is a synonym for Lend.

And now I want to teach you some new vocabulary. Hope you are following me so far.

Now let’s go back to banks. Let me ask you this, how many of you have a Personal Loan?
A Personal Loan is a banking term. Préstamo personal or un crédito de consumo.

I had to get a personal loan from the bank when I bought my last car, I couldn’t buy it with cash, I didn’t have enough cash with me. I had to apply for a personal loan and then I had to pay it back with interest. Cash is efectivo in Spanish. An interest rate is tazas de interes.

Normally when you borrow money from the bank you pay it back at high interest rates.
Yup! That’s why I hate banks, I hate greedy banks.

A high number of people in Australia have something called a mortgage. The fact is, the house prices are astronomically high, they are so high that the only way people can afford to buy their own property is to get a mortgage from the bank.

A mortgage is a home loan effectively. We pronounce it as mortgage, t is silent. Yes there is a T in this word.
M O R T G A G E.

In Spanish, this is dividendo.

Before they give you money, before the bank gives you money, the bank will ask you if own any assets. Assets are bienes in Spanish. Assets could be a car, anything valuable that you own. The bank will take it in case you cannot repay your mortgage.

When you pay your mortgage, you pay it back in instalments over a period of time. The maximum term is 30 years at the moment! 30 years, being stuck with a loan, oh my god!

Most of the time when you borrow money from financial institutions you pay it back in instalments.
New words, new phrase: in installments:

Instalments are quotas or letras in Spanish.

When I was living in Santiago I was surprised that people pay for their groceries in instalments. Groceries is the term used for items that you get from the supermarket. You go to a supermarket to shop for groceries, this includes food or any other home related items.

So yes, it was a bizarre thing to see that you have to pay for your grocery bill in instalments….I cannot understand this, I cannot fathom this. This is not how it should be. But let’s not get into politics. Ok, we are here to learn some English.

Right, let’s sum up today’s episode. We are approaching the end of the show. I hope you enjoyed today’s episode, a bit different.

So let’s summarise today’s episode. To Borrow means to Take, and Lend means to give. You can only borrow something from someone: when you say: Lend me your pen is correct, Borrow me your pen that’s not correct. Same as if you’d say, Give me a pen is right, but Take me a pen is wrong. ok?
Oh, and don’t forget to say the magic word, which is: PLEASE. Can I borrow your pen please? Ok, I keep forgetting to be polite and remind you guys to say please.

And that’s about it folks, thank you for joining me in today’s episode!
And in the next short and sweet we are going to learn some new expressions using the words, LEND and BORROW, ok? It’s gonna be cool.

Don’t forget transcriptions are available on my website,
You’ve been an awesome audience and I’ll catch you next week, hasta la proxima!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This