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!

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

What’s Your Poison? Vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar
“What’s your poison?”

Ordering drinks can be intimidating for a non-native speaker.

Picture this:

You’re at a noisy, crowded night club. The music is blaring, the lights are flashing, and there is a long line of people waiting to get their drinks. You make your way to an open space at the bar. You can feel people pushing up from behind.

The bartender finally leans forward and asks the important question:

“What can I get ya’?”

It’s a very simple question, but it’s not easy to answer.

Everything is moving fast, so you quickly blurt out your order. “I’ll have 3 beers and…um…uh…a mojito.” There. You said it right. You start to relax as the bartender starts making the drinks, but suddenly, he asks a second question.

“You want that with a twist and on the rocks?”

You have NO idea what he is asking you! And now, he’s waiting for an answer. “What? Sorry?” you reply nervously. Suddenly, the music stops. You start to sweat. Everyone is looking at you. So what do you say?

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

For the moment, just say, “Yes.” You’ll know what he was talking about when you get your mojito with ice and a slice of lime.

But next time, here is some helpful vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar.

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

With a twist means with a slice of fruit, typically lemon or lime. On the rocks means your drink will be served with ice, and neat is for a drink with no ice, no fruit, no nothing. You can order any drink followed by these phrases to customize your order.

For example, “I’ll have a whiskey on the rocks.” Or, if you’re feeling flirty, ask for a “martini, with a twist.” That will get you started on the many different ways of ordering drinks!

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar

Alcohol comes in various containers, depending on how it is served.

If you really want to get the party going, you can start by doing a few shots of tequila. A large shot is also called a double shot. Tilt your head back and gulp it all down. As they say,

One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, FLOOR!

Beer drinkers can be picky. Some like bottles, some like draft beer (beer from the tap), and some don’t mind drinking out of cans. Large groups of friends will want to order pitchers. It’s cheaper than buying it by the glass.

The bartender will ask if you want to open a tab. This means that you can continue ordering drinks and he will add the total to the tab. When you finish your drinks, tell the bartender to close out the tab. This means you are ready to go pay. Hopefully, a friend will offer to pick up the tab, which means your friend will pay for all the drinks. Cheers to that!

The person who decides not to drink so that he or she can safely drive home is known as the designated driver. The “d.d.” will want to order virgin drinks (without alcohol). Make sure you thank your driver, and never drink and drive!

Studies have shown that having a few drinks can actually improve your ability to speak. Alcohol lowers your fear of making mistakes, and actually can improve your pronunciation. It’s true!

I know that after studying English grammar all day, I definitely appreciate a nice glass of wine. So treat yourself to a night out with friends from time to time. It’s a great way to practice your new vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar.

vocabulary for ordering drinks at a bar
Cheers!

history vs. story

History vs. Story: What’s the Difference?

History: The study of past events or people

History is a subject that we study in school. We study the history of civilizations, important people, or topics, like the history of art. We only use the word history when referring to major events or people from the past.

HIS-tuh-ree

I studied art history in college.

Examples:

  • The history of Egypt is fascinating.
  • I have a history test tomorrow.
  • Many students think history is boring, but I love it.
  • The U.S. has a long history of violence.

Story: A re-telling of something that happened, usually to you or someone you know.

Story telling is a big part of language. We tell stories to each other about things that happened at work, like when you accidentally spilled coffee on your computer. Yikes!

telling stories is fun
He tells the funniest stories!

We tell stories about events in our lives, like about how our parents met and fell in love, or things that we remember from our childhood. Stories can be happy, sad, scary, or funny––the best stories are funny, don’t you agree?

We also tell stories to children. Some of my favorite stories are Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. What are your favorite childhood stories?

STOR-ee

Tell me a story about your childhood.

Do you have a favorite childhood story, or a story about learning English? Leave a comment to share your story!

Steal vs. Rob: Crime Vocabulary

Have you ever been robbed? It’s a terrible feeling! What did they steal?

STEAL and ROB are two words related to crime, but it’s good to know which one to use.

STEAL

A thief steals things. It is an irregular verb. (STEAL<< STOLE>>STOLEN)

A thief might steal your cell phone, your wallet, or even your car.

We typically use the passive tense to describe the crime.

  • Active: A thief stole my purse.
  • Passive: My purse was stolen. (by a thief)

ROB

When a thief enters your home or business and takes something from you, we can say that you have been robbed.

Robbed is for places or people, and it is a regular verb. (ROB<<ROBBED>>ROBBED)

We typically use the passive tense to talk about being robbed.

  • Active:        Three thieves robbed the bank.
  • Passive:      The bank was robbed. (by three thieves)

THIEF, THIEVES (pl.)

A thief is a general term to call someone who takes things that aren’t theirs. For more specific crimes, use the following names:

  • A robber robs banks
  • A burglar enters and robs homes and jewelry stores
  • A kidnapper steals children
  • A pickpocket steals from people in busy, public places
  • A pirate steals technology like software, movies or music files
  • A hacker steals digital information, like emails or passwords
  • A hijacker steals control of airplanes or other forms of transportation
  • A shoplifter steals things from stores like clothing, cosmetics, or food

Crime is never a fun experience, but it is interesting to think about and talk about. What makes people want to steal? Have you ever stolen anything that didn’t belong to you?  Maybe a pen, or a hotel towel? Come on, be honest! Read more in this funny post about the 7 little things that people often steal. How about you?

 
What's the difference between go back and come back?

Go Back or Come Back: What’s the Difference?

When talking about travel, it’s easy to confuse the phrasal verbs go back and come backThey both mean to return. So what’s the difference?

It’s actually very simple. It all depends on where you are at the time of speaking. For example, if you are from Italy, but you are in California right now, you would say:

  • I’m going back to Italy in two weeks. (You are in California now, but you are returning to your home country.)
  • I’m coming back to California next year. (You are in California, and you are returning to California next year)

What's the difference between go back and come back?
It depends on the location of the speaker.

Let’s look at a conversation to see some examples.

A: Honey, I’m home! I went shopping, but I forgot to get the eggs.

B: Oh no! I need the eggs to make your birthday cake.

A: OK, I’ll go back to the store and get them.

B: Great. Do you know when you’re coming back home?

A: I’ll be back in 20 minutes.

B: That’s great. Don’t come back without the eggs!

The speakers use come back and go back (and even be back) depending on where they are at the time of speaking. They are both at home, so they use go back to talk about returning to the store, and come back to talk about returning home.

  • I was born in New York, but I haven’t gone back there in many years. (not there)
  • I loved visiting Italy the first time, so I went back there again last year. (not there)
  • I was still tired, so I went back to bed.
  • Our dog ran away a few days ago, but he came back last night.
  • When are you coming back from your trip? We miss you here!

If you have any questions about these phrasal verbs in use, you can always come back to this page to ask questions and practice.

Cheers!

 

 

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!!!

Expressions, collocations with the verb TO MAKE

Expressions with the Verb TO MAKE

The verb TO MAKE has several different uses. The literal meaning is to create something. Here are some expressions, or collocations that use make, organized by category.

Make = To Cook or Prepare

  • make breakfast, lunch or dinner
  • make a sandwich, pasta, or other meal

If you don’t feel like cooking, you can make a reservation at a restaurant!

Make = Schedule Events

  • make an appointment
  • make plans with someone
  • make arrangements

Make = Mental Activity

  • make a decision
    • I need to make a decision on which college I will be attending in the fall.
  • make a choice
    • It’s difficult to make a choice when there are so many options!
  • make a mistake, an error
    • I think I made several mistakes on the exam, but I’m sure I will still pass.
  • make a calculation
    • It’s important to make several calculations to see if you can afford to buy a new home.

If you can’t decide, we use the expression,

I can’t make up my mind on what to order for lunch! (can’t decide)

Make = Business Talk

  • make money
    • Our company made a lot of money last year. 
    • How much money do you make at your job?
  • make time for
    • These days, it’s difficult to make time for your family.
  • make progress
    • I’ve made a lot of progress at the gym. I can run faster than before!
  • make a request
    • The passenger made a request for a quite seat near the window.
  • make a phone call
    • Could you please be quiet? I need to make a phone call to my boss.
  • make a deal
    • Let’s make a deal: I’ll cook dinner if you wash the dishes, OK?
  • make a promise
    • If you make a promise, you should always try to keep it.

Because make is used in so many different situations, it’s a good idea to memorize these expressions and make and effort to practice using them!

Remember, the past form and participle form of make is made.

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!

A visual chart to show expressions that use the verb take in english

Visual Vocabulary – Common English Expressions with TAKE

Take a few minutes to think about the verb TO TAKE.

To Take literally means “to bring something with you.” Take an umbrella, or take a book to read, for example. However, many other activities use this verb, even though you are not really “taking” anything.

Here are some of the more commons expressions that are formed with take.

Take a Photo

pexels-photo-786801.jpeg
Say “Cheese!

Nowadays, everyone has a camera, and people are taking more photos than ever. Use TAKE for phones, cameras, and recordings.

  • take a photo, take a picture
  • take a screenshot
  • take a selfie (but not too many)

 

Take a Shower

Use TAKE for showers and baths.
I’m going to take a shower, but stay in the bathroom.

Use TAKE for a shower or a bath, everyday.

  • After working all day, it’s good to take a nice, hot shower to relax.
  • Do most kids love taking baths?

Take a Trip

TAKE is used for trips, vacations, and tours.
Would you like to take a trip to this beach?

Use TAKE for many kinds of travel and getaways.

  • take a vacation
  • take a trip
  • take a cruise
  • take a tour of the city

 

Take a Taxi

TAKE is used for modes of transportation.
It would be fun to take a road trip in this mini bus.

For modes of transportation, use TAKE to show how you get somewhere.

  • Take a taxi, take an Uber
  • Take the train, the subway, the trolley, the bus, a flight
  • Take a walk, a hike, a swim
  • Take the elevator, take the stairs

 

Take a Nap

Cat takes a nap in a bowl.
Cats take naps wherever they want!

If you get tired from all that moving around, use TAKE for naps and rest, but not sleep.

  • Take a nap
  • Take a rest
  • Take a break
  • Take five (Take five minutes to rest)

 

Take Medicine

TAKE is used for medicine, vitamins, and drugs.
Take two tablets and call me in the morning.

Unfortunately, we can’t always be healthy. When we get sick, TAKING medicine can make us feel better.

  • Take two aspirin
  • Take pills, tablets, painkillers
  • Take antibiotics
  • Take vitamins
  • Take drugs (Please, don’t.)

Take Time

Use TAKE with time expressions to talk about the duration of an activity.
It always takes longer to cook when you’re hungry.

Use TAKE with these time expressions to show how much time you need to do something, or to give yourself more time.

  • Learning a language takes a long time.
  • It takes three hours to drive to L.A.
  • We should all take the time to enjoy life.
  • Take your time on the test so you don’t make any mistakes.

Take a Test

Take time to study before you take a test!
Take your time when you take a test.

Speaking of tests, use TAKE for all kinds of evaluations and classes.

  • Take a test
  • Take a quiz
  • Take an exam
  • Take a survey
  • Take an English class, take lessons

A visual chart to show expressions that use the verb take in english

TAKE(S) / TOOK / TAKEN

Speaking practice

Read these conversation questions using good sentence stress and rhythm. To learn more about sentence stress, click here.

  1. How many pictures do you take every day?
  2. Do you take photos with a camera or with your phone?
  3. Do you takeshower in the morning or at night?
  4. When are you going to take your next trip?
  5. Would you prefer to takevacation with your friends or your familyWhy?
  6. How many times have you taken an Uber?
  7. Do you feel better after taking nap, or do you still feel tired?
  8. Do you take vitamins every day?
  9. How long does it take you to get to work? Do you take your car or the train?
  10. If you tookmath test, do you think you would pass?

If you can remember and use a few of these expressions with TAKE, you’re well on your way to becoming more fluent.

I hope this blog was useful to you all. Take care!