English grammar – Lend & borrow


borrow something from someone
lend something to someone
lend someone something


  1. Borrow is used to say that we take something temporarily with the intention of returning it.
    • Can I borrow your car?
    • She borrowed $100 from her father.
  2. Lend is used to say that we give something temporarily with the intention of having it returned.
    • Can you lend me your car?
    • Her father lent her $100.
    • Her father lent $100 to his daughter.

2 teaching ideas

  1. Delia says:

    I make a list of objects on the board and ask students if they would be prepared to lend them to someone special, to someone they don’t know very well, or if they wouldn’t ever lend the object to anyone. Give reasons.

    Your toothbrush
    Your umbrella
    A book you read and loved
    Your mobile phone
    Your car
    Your boyfriend (joke!)
    Your notes on a topic for exam preparation (they are the result of many hours of hard work!)
    Your camera
    Your favourite outfit

  2. Naomi says:

    Choose a list of objects, such as money, hairbrush, a car, a camera, etc. Put students in groups and have them discuss which objects they would feel comfortable borrowing and from whom. Then have them talk about which objects they would be willing to lend and to whom. For example:

    I would only borrow money from my family, but I would lend money to a good friend.

    Give students 3-5 small cards with a picture of a different object on each card. Choose objects that different students may or may not want, such as:

    a TV
    an Ipod
    a bike
    a dog
    a lizard

    Students have 5 minutes to negotiate with others to get rid of objects they don’t want and get the things they do want. For example:

    I’ll lend you my electronic dictionary if I can borrow your Ipod.
    I will lend you my Ipod if I can borrow your electronic dictionary and your skateboard.

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