Lend or Loan?


images-1imagesA loyal correspondent (there are so many of you!) wrote last week to ask me about these two words. She had heard an announcer state he was going to loan something to a fellow announcer. Loyal Correspondent wrote she had always been taught that “loan” is a noun and “lend” is a verb and wondered if she was correct.

Under the heading of Language Changes, I can say that, traditionally, she is correct:

“I will lend you my umbrella. In addition, I am making you a loan of $20.”

Some dictionaries have stuck with this distinction. However, common usage is leading to leniency. Most people would not flinch at seeing or hearing “I will loan you my umbrella.” In fact, “loan” as a verb is found in an Act of Parliament from 1542.


It’s your call whether to use “loan” as a noun, a verb or both.

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Filed under All things having to do with the English language

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