Borrow or Lend: What’s the difference?

It’s easy to confuse these two terms. They are used when we give or take something that will be returned (Well, we hope it will!)

What's the difference between borrow and lend?

LEND = Give

To lend is to give someone something for a short time. Lend requires a direct pronoun (money, a phone, a sweater, etc.) and an indirect object pronoun (me, him, her, us, them, my friend, the students, etc.)

Notice that in each of these sentences, we can replace the word lend with the verb give-gave-given and it will have the same meaning.

  • I lent my friend $5000 so she could get a new apartment. (I gave…)
  • Could you lend me some money? (Could you give…)
  • Have you ever lent money to friends? And if so, do they always pay you back? (Have you ever given…)

BORROW = Take

Borrow means to take. It means you are asking to take something from someone and return it in the future. You can use the verb take-took-taken in the following sentences and have the same meaning.

  • My friend borrowed $5000 from me so she could move into a new apartment. (My friend took $5000…)
  • Could I borrow some money? (Could I take…)
  • She promised to pay back the money she had borrowed. (…the money she had taken.)

Remember, lend = give and borrow = take

Need a loan? Borrow some cash from a friend!
Need a loan?

When we borrow money from a person or a bank, it is called a loan.

Check out this classic episode of the TV sitcom Seinfeld to see how lending money to friends can sometimes be complicated…and very funny!

Jerry can lend you $5000.00!

Do you think Jerry will lend her the money? I’m sure he was happy that his friend Kramer was there to negotiate the deal!

Pay (someone) back = return money that was borrowed

When talking about borrowing money, we use the phrasal verb to pay back. This is a separable phrasal verb, meaning we often use an object noun or pronoun in the middle of the phrase.

  • When can she pay me back?
  • She shouldn’t borrow money from Jerry unless she is sure she can pay him back!

Give (something) back = return an item that was borrowed

When talking about borrowing a car, phone, or other items, we use the phrasal verb to give back.

  • Did she give your bike back to you after she borrowed it?
  • You borrowed my umbrella three months ago. Please give it back!

Now it’s your turn. Can you describe each photo below using both borrow and lend?

Thanks, dad!

Example: I borrowed my father’s credit card. My father lent me his credit card.

Write your answers in the comments below to see if you’ve got the hang of it. When you finish, lend this post to your friends to improve their English, too!

Too vs. So: What’s the difference?

TOO = A negative description

When something is not good, or you don’t like it, or you can’t use it, use too to describe it. When you use too in a sentence, it means that you are not happy, or there is a negative result.

  • The driver was going too fast. (He crashed his car and died.)
  • The food was too hot. (I couldn’t eat it, or I burned my mouth.)
  • The music was too loud. (I didn’t like it, or I couldn’t hear you.)
  • The child is too young to watch this movie. (He shouldn’t watch it because it is violent or sexual.)
too or so: what's the difference?
This photo is TOO small.

SO = A surprising or happy description

SO, on the other hand, is used to describe something that has a surprising or happy effect. Be careful not to use so to describe a noun.

So is only used for adjectives or adverbs. For nouns, use such.

  • The driver was going so fast! I think he is going to win the race!
  • The food was so delicious! (I really enjoyed it and want to eat more.)
  • The music was so beautiful! (I loved listening to it.)
  • The child is so young to be watching this movie! (I can’t believe he is watching the violent movie. I hope he doesn’t have nightmares!)
This photo makes me SO happy!

Very = Intensify the meaning

Very is different than so and too. It doesn’t show how YOU are feeling about it. Use very only to increase or intensify an adjective or adverb.

  • Water is cold… Ice is very cold.
  • Your parents are old… Your grandparents are very old.
  • Driving a car is difficult… Flying a plane is very difficult.

Try not to use very all the time. There are so many other words that you can use instead. For example, you can say that ice is freezing instead of very cold. You can find more examples of these words here.

I hope you didn’t find this lesson too difficult to understand. You can practice more by describing the photos below.

  1. It’s raining _____ hard, but he doesn’t care.
  2. Stay back! We can’t go in there. The fire is ____ hot.
  3. Wow! That dog is ____ big! He’s enormous!
  4. We are ____ late. They are closed until tomorrow.
  5. My jeans are ____ big now. Before I went on a diet, I was ____ fat!
Expressions and activities with the verb TO GO

Expressions with the Verb TO GO

Use GO with another -ING verb when you talk about activities and sports.

  • Do you want to go surfing in California?
  • There are some beautiful places to go sightseeing here, too!
  • Have you ever gone wine tasting in Italy?

Team sports (soccer, basketball) typically use the verb to play. Sports that are done individually usually use to go. For more information about the verbs go, play, and do, click here.

WATER SPORTS

  • go swimming
  • go surfing
  • go scuba diving
  • go snorkeling
  • go sailing
  • go wind surfing
  • go boogie boarding

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

  • go hiking
  • go biking
  • go mountain climbing
  • go ice skating
  • go skiing
  • go camping
  • go exploring

TRAVEL AND LEISURE ACTIVITIES

  • go shopping
  • go sightseeing
  • go wine-tasting
  • go dancing
  • go clubbing (go to nightclubs for dancing and music)
Expressions and activities with the verb TO GO
Activities used with the verb TO GO usually follow with an -ING verb.

GO EXPRESSIONS WITHOUT -ING VERBS

Go is also used in expressions that don’t use an -ing verb.

  • go broke (lose all your money)
  • go out of business (close a business forever)
    • Many businesses go broke after the first year and go out of business.
  • go bald (lose your hair)
  • go blind (lose your vision)
    • He went bald when he was 45, but he didn’t go blind until much later.
  • go away for the weekend
  • go out of town for business or travel
  • go abroad (overseas for travel, work, or study)
  • go home
    • After going abroad, going away for a few weeks, or even going out of town for the weekend, it’s always wonderful to go back home.

Do you know the difference between go back and come back? Click here.

Remember, the verb to go can change in tense. Let’s look at what happens when we use one expressions in different tenses.

  • I go swimming every day.
  • I went swimming yesterday.
  • I haven’t gone swimming in a long time.
  • I‘m going swimming after work today.
  • I won’t go swimming in cold water!

Do you know any more expressions with the verb to go? Add your comments below!

Ready, set, GO!

the verb to do is used in expressions for work, style, and activities

Expressions with the Verb TO DO

the verb to do is used to ask about activities in general

The verb TO DO is very useful when talking about general actions.

We use it to ask about activities, as in:

What do you want to do tonight?

(However, a different verb is used to answer the question.)

  • I want to watch the sunset. I want to spend time with my friends. I want to walk on the beach.

Do is also used in many questions. You can read about questions here.

However, some English expressions use the verb to do for specific activities. It helps to learn them by category.

Housework, Chores, and Cleaning

Use do with common housework responsibilities.

do laundry, do shopping, do housework, do the dishes, do the ironing
  • do the laundry (wash and dry)
  • do the dishes (wash and dry)
  • do the ironing
  • do the floors (sweep and mop)

Work

After you do all your housework, you can start to do your homework. Oh man!

  • do homework
    close up of woman working
  • do school work
  • do a report on something
  • do research
  • a good job (nice work!)
  • a bad job (uh-oh!)

Speaking of work, don’t forget we use do to talk about our jobs.

What do you do?  (What’s your job?) I’m a teacher. How about you, what do you do?

Exercises and Workouts

After work, you might want to workout at the gym.

We use DO with all kinds of exercises, martial arts, and workouts. Other sports use GO or PLAY. You can read more about other sports here.

  • do yoga
    woman with red top and black shorts on purple yoga mat
  • do karate
  • do jiu-jitsu
  • do pilates
  • do zumba
  • do burpees, plank, jumping jacks
  • do a flip, a handstand, do a dance
  • do push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups (C’mon, 10 more times!)

Beauty Treatments

Are you tired from all that exercise? Use do when you talk about personal care for your body, skin, hair, and nails. Let’s go to the spa!

  • do your hair (cut, color, and style)
    woman s pink pedicure
  • do your nails (paint, pedicure or manicure)
  • do your makeup (put makeup on your face)
    • Don’t you love getting your hair and nails done?
    • I love doing my makeup when I go to a party.

Relationships

Finally, we often use do when working with other people in social and business settings.

  • do someone a favor
  • do business with someone or with a company
    • Could you do me a favor and drive me to the bank?
    • We don’t want to do business with companies that aren’t environmentally friendly.
group hand fist bump

Think you’ve got it? Let’s do it!!!

What's the difference between say and tell?

Say vs. Tell – What’s the Difference?

SAY and TELL are similar – they are used to communicate information. So what’s the difference? The major difference is TELL can include the listener. SAY typically does not include the listener, only what is being said.

(Incorrect)   She said me to call her.

(Correct)      She told me to call her.

TELL

TELL is used with direct object pronouns (me, you, it, her, him, us, them) or other nouns (the children, my dad, the staff). So if you need to include the speaker and the listener, use TELL + direct object noun or pronoun.

  • The boss told his employees not to be late for the meeting.
  • His doctor told him to get more exercise.
  • I told her I lost her camera on my trip.

SAY

SAY does not often include the person you are speaking to. It refers to what was said, not who said it.

  • She said something on the phone, but I couldn’t understand her.
  • I said hello to our new neighbors.
  • When someone takes a picture, it is common to say “Cheese!”
  • If I ask you to come visit, please say yes!

For more on reported speech, check out this post.

It’s time to say goodbye now. Please take a moment to tell me what you think of this lesson.

Cheers!

Will vs. Be Going To

Be Going To vs. Will for the Future Tense: What’s the Difference?

Robot:                What are you going to do today?
Astronaut:        I‘m going to visit the sun.
Robot:                But it’s too hot! You’ll burn up!
Astronaut:        I’ll be fine. I’m going to go at night.

This silly conversation shows how will and be going to are often used together when speaking about the future. What’s the difference between be going to and will? It all depends on the situation.

will-vs-be-going-to-for-future-tense
Never argue about grammar with a robot!

In the conversation, the robot asks the astronaut about his plans using be going to. When the robot tells him, “You’ll burn up,” that is a fact, not a plan, so he uses will. Again, when the astronaut replies, “I’ll be fine,” he is making a promise. The astronaut has a plan: “I’m going to go there at night.” It’s not a very smart plan, but it’s a plan, so he uses be going to.

I hope he wears a lot of sunscreen.

Let’s look at some other uses of be going to and will that depend on the situation.

BE GOING TO

PLANS AND ARRANGEMENTS

Use be going to for things that you already have planned.

  • I‘m going to finish the report this evening.
  • We‘re going to rent a car for the weekend.
  • They‘re going to build a new shopping center here.
  • Ford is going to close several car dealerships next year.
  • Are you going to be late for the meeting?

It’s also good to begin a speaking presentation with, “Today, I’m going to talk about…” Here are some more tips and tricks to giving a great presentation in English.

PREDICTIONS & THE WEATHER

The weather is a prediction for the future, so both forms can be used. Notice that certain expressions are used when we talk about the weather.

  • It looks like it’s going to rain today.
  • I hope the roads won’t be foggy.
  • Do you think it’ll be sunny at the beach?

For all other predictions, be going to and will can both be used, depending on how sure you are about it. The more certain you are, the more you should use be going to.

  • The Giants are definitely going to win the game.
  • My mom is going to love the gift I bought her!
  • Scientists will find a cure for cancer one day.
  • In the next 500 years, what will happen to the climate on Earth?

WILL

INSTANT DECISIONS & CHANGING PLANS

  • The restaurant is closing soon, so I’ll order take out.
  • Your phone battery is dead? I’ll send you an email.
  • There’s a huge traffic jam? I’ll take the metro instead.

PROMISES & THREATS

  • I won’t tell anyone your secret.
  • If you come to work late again, you’ll get fired.
  • I will always be your friend.
  • Will you marry me?

OFFERS

  • The phone’s ringing : I’ll get it.
  • My car’s not working : I’ll give you a ride.
  • I need a few dollars for the bus : I’ll lend you some.
  • The employees should bring something to the meeting : I’ll bring the coffee.

NEGOTIATIONS

  • If you wash the dishes, I’ll set the table
  • If you pay half now, I’ll lower the price.
  • If you buy one, I’ll give you one for free!

Let’s look at some other situations where will and be going to can be used.

At a Restaurant

In the following video, you can see that the customers and server are both using will again and again. That’s because they are making decisions in the moment. When the server says, “I’ll be right back,” she uses will because she is making a promise, not a plan.

A Weather Forecast

Here, you can see how will and be going to are both used to talk about the weather.

Be Going To for Predictions in the Very Near Future

 

Thank you for reading my bog! Now, I’m going to stop writing and watch Grey’s Anatomy, my favorite TV show. (plan) You never know what will happen! (prediction)

See you in the future!

 

How to choose the correct verb for sports and activities

Go, Do, or Play? Verbs for Sports and Activities

GO, PLAY, and DO are all used for sports and activities, but choosing the right verb takes practice.

What are your favorite sports and activities? I love yoga, surfing, and volleyball. But if I want to talk about these activities, I need THREE different verbs! How to choose? Read on to find out.

Most water activities use GO + ING
These kids can’t wait to GO swimmING!

GO + Verb + ING

GO is typically used for individual activities (only one person is needed), and GO always comes before an ING verb.

  • go running, go jogging, go walking, go skydiving, go hiking in the mountains, go cycling, go camping, go shopping (it’s a sport, right?)

GO is also used with most water sports.

  • go swimming, go diving, go snorkeling, go fishing, go jet skiing, go sailing

Martial arts and strengthening exercises use DO
Do you DO yoga? She does!

DO

DO is used for exercises, workouts, and martial arts.

  • do Pilates, do karate, do jiu jitsu, do Zumba, do aerobics
  • do sit-ups, do push-ups, do squats, do burpees, do stretches, do planks (OUCH!!)

PLAY is used for team sports.
What sport do you think they PLAY?

PLAY

PLAY is used for team sports, major league sports, games, and musical instruments.

  • play soccer, play tennis, play basketball, play ping pong, play golf
  • play poker, play Monopoly, play chess, play guitar, play piano

So did you figure out which verbs to use with my favorite activities?

I like to _________________ yoga, __________________surfing, and _________________volleyball.

If you think you know the answers, comment below! Ready, set, GO!!!

 

 

In, On, or At? How To Use Prepositions for Transportation, Location, Time, and Technology

English students sometimes feel lost when using the prepositions in, on, and at.

Luckily, there are a few rules you can follow. Prepositions can be learned by topic. Topics can include transportation, location, time and date, and technology. Let’s look at some topics to get you back on the map!

cologne-central-station-railway-station-train-163580.jpegTransportation

For transportation, remember the following guidelines:

IN

Use IN for private transportation.

  • in a car, in a truck, in a taxi, in an Uber, or in a small boat, canoe, or kayak

ON

For public transportation, use ON.

  • on the bus, on a plane, on a ship or cruise, on a train, on the subway, on the trolley

Use ON for things that one person can sit or stand on to ride.

  •  on a bicycle, on a motorcycle, on a horse, on a surfboard, skateboard, or segway! 🙂

AT

Use AT for places where you wait for transport.

  • at the bus stop, at the taxi stand, at the airport, at the train station

pexels-photo.jpgLocations

IN

Think of IN for enclosed spaces and places with borders, like rooms, towns, cities, counties, states, countries, and continents.

  • in the kitchen, in San Diego, in California, in the U.S., in North America, in Europe

Use IN for geographical locations and bodies of water, if you’re swimming!

  • in the mountains, in the forest, in the desert, in the water, in the lake, in the ocean

ON

Use ON for street names, borders, and floors of buildings.

  • on Broadway, on the Mexican border, on the first floor, on 10th Ave.

Use ON for surfaces.

  • on the ground, on the floor, on the wall, on the beach (if you’re tanning!)

AT

Use AT for specific locations, places of business, and stores.

  • at the supermarket, at the beach, at the library
  • at the zoo, at the restaurant, at the mall, at McDonalds, at the hospital

pexels-photo-908298.jpegTimes and Dates

IN

Use IN for enclosed time periods.

  • in December, in the summer, in 1997

ON

Use ON for specific days, dates, and holidays.

  • on Monday, on weekends, on January 22
  • on my birthday, on Christmas, on vacation

AT

Use AT for times of the day.

  • at 6:00pm, at midnight (12:00am), at lunchtime (12pm)
  • at night (but in the morning, in the afternoon, and in the evening)

pexels-photo-607812.jpegMedia and Technology

IN

Use IN for paper media.

  • in a book, in a newspaper, in a magazine, in a journal

ON

Use ON for electronic media and technology.

  • on the internet, on tv, on the radio, on the phone
  • on social media, on facebook, instagram, whatsapp, etc.

AT

Use AT or the @ symbol for websites, url’s, emails, and web addresses only.

You can learn more about advanced preposition use here.