When to Use “Loan” versus “Lend”

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Loan and lend are misused so frequently – even in print and TV advertising – that it’s no wonder so many of us get the word usages mixed up. Loan is a noun; lend is a verb. That’s the bottom line.

Loan is a noun:

  • I asked the bank for a loan.

Lend is a verb:

  • Will you lend me some money?

Incorrect: The bank will loan me $100,000 to buy a house.

Correct: The bank will lend me $100,000 – or – The loan from the bank is for $100,000.

Incorrect: I loaned her my best sweater.

Correct: I lent her my best sweater.

When I’m in doubt about a correct word usage, I look in my The Chicago Manual of Style. It’s got everything.


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