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The L2 (Second language) learner of English always encounters a number of problems be it phonological, semantically or syntactical. These problems are termed as Errors. Nelson Brooks is quoted as having said that “it is just as unrealistic to reckon on language learning without error as to reckon on existence without sin”. From Brooks Quotation we realize that making errors is an inevitable part of a second language learner. Therefore errors should not be looked on with horror but rather with tolerance on the part of the teacher because it is a useful tool in second language learning. One such error is Pairs that are commonly confused. This error occurs as a result of misapplication of the rules of the second language (L2) or Better still Ignorance. It will surprise you to know that not only do the partially educated make such errors but also the elite in society all make this error. This is so because we are all second language learners of English (L2).

The second language (L2) learner is not always able to correct his errors; it always depends on the stage of his or her language development. Whiles we are masters of the phonological, syntactic and lexical systems of our mother tongue (L1) and can only make mistakes here, the same cannot be said of our (L2). Errors occur in our second language and we make deviant utterances. It is natural.

It is my hope that as we go through these commonly confused pairs, our grounding in these words will be firm. We will look at the words BORROW and LEND.

Borrow—- The person doing the borrowing always enjoys the favor. He or she goes out to take from someone. Whatever he borrows is supposed to be returned but he enjoys the favor while it last. We can look at it this way- A has stuff which B needs. B goes to A to take some, with the intention of returning it. The equation thus becomes:

B to A (B receives)=(B returns it) to A

Eg. (a) Kwame borrows the organ from me every Sunday morning.

(b) May I borrow your hat?

(c) Borrowing from Ama is always heartwarming.

Borrowing means taking something from someone with the intention of returning it later when you are done with using it. It usually comes with permission and it is temporal.

LEND—- Lend on the other hand can simply be explained as giving something to someone on your own accord or allowing someone to use something of yours with the understanding of returning it or its equivalent. Thus we can say “I lend Shirley huge sums of money when she comes to Ghana to clear her goods, but she pays back by sending me cars.”

The equation here will therefore be:

A to B = (A gives) = (B receives & returns it) same/equivalent

E.g. (a) I cannot wait to lend him the money.

(b) We lend clothes to the actors every time they go on set.

Lent is the simple past tense and past participle of the verb ‘Lend’. This means it can be used with or without “has/have/had.

E.g. (a) Kwame lent his car out to Betty.

(b) We had lent them out before leaving to the states.

NOTE: These two words though they can be confusing, knowing the difference as explained above and continuously using it in our day to day expressions will help us to easily have a firm grip on it.

While borrow is taking, lend is giving. They can never be used synonymously ( as synonyms).

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Christina Armah
Number of Entries : 4

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