Lend vs. Loan

How to use "lend" and "loan" correctly

This is an entry on my list of Common Errors in English Usage. Visit the main page for direct links to additional entries.

Although the use of to loan as a verb when discussing money or material goods has been common in English for a long time, some grammar authorities still insist that loan should only be used as a noun. In any case, loan should never be used as a verb to express figurative meanings:

loan me fifty dollars” is risky when writing for some audiences

lend me fifty dollars” is universally accepted

loan him a hand
lend him a hand

her presence loaned me confidence
her presence lent me confidence

Remember that to lend is an irregular verb whose past tense and past participle forms are both lentTo loan is a regular verb that follows the standard conjugation pattern with -ed.

Related Resources

Common Errors in English Usage: Errors in diction and idiom commonly made by native speakers of English

List of Common Errors in English Usage (PDF): Printable version of the complete list

Common Grammar Errors: A list of common errors in grammar (topics like subject-verb agreement and parallelism) as distinct from usage

List of Common Errors in English Usage: PDF version

© 2006, 2008, and 2019 C. Brantley Collins, Jr.