Knowing expressions for lending and borrowing may be vital in some situations. Everyone has family, friends, or colleagues who at one time or another will want to borrow something that you have (or you may need to ask them for something they have). It may just be a pen to write a note, or money for lunch, or something more substantial like your truck for a day so they can move or the use of your lake-side cabin for a weekend getaway.

Whatever it is, there are standard expressions that can be used. Look at these examples.

English Expressions Used for lending and borrowing
Could you lend me (…five dollars)?
    Response: OK, here you go.
    Response: Sorry, I’m broke.
May I borrow ( … your cell phone)?
    Response: Sure, go ahead.
    Response: Yes, but I need to make a call first.
Do you mind if I use ( …your stapler for a second)?
    Response: No problem.
    Response: Sorry, but it’s out of staples.
Will you lend me ( … your car to go to the drug store)?
    Response: OK, but drive carefully.
    Response: I’m sorry, but I don’t have insurance and don’t want anyone else driving it.


James: Can you lend me $500?
Allen: That’s a lot of money. Why do you need it?
James: I need to fix my car. I can’t get to work without it.
Allen: Can’t you use a credit card?
James: I would, but unfortunately it’s maxed out.
Allen: When can I expect to get paid back?
James: In 3 or 4 weeks, maybe sooner. I should receive my tax return by then.
Allen: Well, since your are my brother I guess you are a good risk.
James: Thanks, I appreciate this.

Some beginning students make mistakes when using lend and borrow. They may things like “I borrowed him my book”, when they should use lend.
It may help if they think of lend to mean give give and borrow to mean receive.

I lent him my book means I gave him my book.

I borrowed his book means I received his book.

Practice Activities

Find a partner and practice using the expressions for lending and borrowing for the below situation.

A car to go to the doctor
A book to study for a test
Money to pay a bill
A jack to fix a flat tire
Cell phone to call relative

To find other conversation activities and dialogues for lending and borrowing take a look at:
Conversation Made Easy OR Talk, Talk, Talk

Other Links for Lending and Borrowing
XX Lend/borrow Test
XX Fill in Blank Dialogue
XX Lend and Borrow