BORROW, LEND, RENT, USE – Learn how to differ the 4 “taking” verbs

BORROW, LEND, RENT, USE - how to use these words properly This lesson curly-haired Ronnie explains the difference between the often confused verbs of taking sth for temporary use. She starts with writing the quote with “neither… nor” as double negation meaning “none”.

Neither a borrower nor a lender be.


“To borrow sth from sb” means to take home free for temporary use. Who can give us anything for a while? Of course, our relatives and friends. When we need sth, we ask sb close for it:

Mom, can I please borrow your car?


“To lend sb sth” means the opposite of borrow – to give sb in need sth free for a time. So the question can be paraphrased as:

– Mom, can you please lend me your car?

– OK, you can borrow.


“To rent sth from sb / at somewhere” means to buy for a time. So it’s paid borrowing. We usually rent DVDs and cars. We can borrow DVDs (and, of course, books) only in rare places like libraries.

I’d like to rent these 3 disks for a week.


Like in borrowing, using is taking sth for use. But using a thing doesn’t guarantee its returning which is inherent in borrowing. Moreover, when asking a classmate to use, say, his pen, we may forget to give it back. So people don’t literally use their acquaintances’ cars, they borrow them. And there’s no saying like “Can I borrow your toilet?” Instead we ask to use it:

Can I use your toilet?

So the tagline’s moral above is advice not to borrow anything or lend it especially money.