"Could you borrow me a pencil?"

The distinction between “borrow” and “lend” is one I always spend extra time drilling into my students as it’s a clear giveaway to being a non-native English speaker! There are some great Chatterbug exercises focused on practicing this but if you haven’t come across it, here’s the main takeaway:

Saying borrow me or borrow you is INCORRECT. The correct phrasing is “lend me” or “lend you” – I’ve noticed many German speakers making this mistake (even outside of Chatterbug) as the word for lend and borrow is the same in German (“ausleihen”)

Train your brains so that whenever you think “borrow you” or “borrow me” alarm bells go off inside your brain telling you something is wrong!

Test yourself! - comment your answers below!

Can I ___ your pencil?
Yes, I can ___ you a pencil.

Can you ___ me your pencil?
Yes, you can ___ my pencil.


I am somewhat of a visual learner and therefore also use a lot of pictures/photos when trying to explain complicated concepts. I have found this picture to be very helpful:

I must agree that ‘borrow vs lend’ is very high on the list of “confusing concepts”. :upside_down_face: