Ask Difference

Lend vs. Lent — What's the Difference?

By Maham Liaqat & Fiza Rafique — Updated on April 26, 2024
"Lend" is the present tense verb for providing something temporarily to another person with the expectation of its return; "lent" is the simple past and past participle form of lend.
Lend vs. Lent — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Lend and Lent


Key Differences

Lend involves the action of giving something to someone for a temporary period, with the understanding that the item will be returned or that the borrower will eventually pay back. It is used when discussing the action in the present. For instance, one might say, "I lend my books to my friends." On the other hand, lent is used to describe this action that has already occurred or was completed in the past. For example, "I lent my car to him last weekend."
The act of lending can apply to both tangible items like books or money and intangible assets like help or support. In contrast, lent is simply the historical reference to such acts, indicating that the lending action has been completed or was done in the past.
Both lend and lent carry the expectation of return or repayment. However, the usage of lend is in scenarios where the lending is ongoing or in proposals for future action, whereas lent always refers to past actions.
In financial contexts, lend might be used in discussions about current loan offers or policies ("The bank lends money at a 5% interest rate"), while lent would be discussed in a retrospective context ("Last year, the bank lent $1 million to small businesses").Metaphorically, lend can also be used to mean 'to give or add' in a more abstract sense, such as "lend an ear" or "lend some color to the story," whereas lent in such metaphoric uses would again refer back to past occasions when such help was provided.

Comparison Chart




Describes current or future actions
Describes past actions


Tangible and intangible assets
Tangible and intangible assets


Return or repayment is anticipated
Return or repayment was anticipated

Financial Context

Current loans or policies
Historical reference to loans or policies

Compare with Definitions


Applies to intangible help as well.
Please lend me your expertise on this project.


Refers to historical financial transactions.
The institution had lent significant sums during the crisis.


To provide something temporarily with the expectation of its return.
Can you lend me your pen?


Past tense of lend, indicating past actions.
She lent me her car last month.


Often used in financial contexts.
Banks lend money to borrowers at various interest rates.


Used in recounting past loans or help.
They lent us their support during the campaign.


Can suggest adding or enhancing something.
His humor really lends charm to his presentations.


Can refer to previously given abstract support.
He lent a lot of credibility to our cause.


Indicates ongoing or future actions.
I will lend you the book next week.


Indicates completed actions or conditions.
Last year, I lent my efforts to several charity events.


Grant to (someone) the use of (something) on the understanding that it will be returned
Stewart asked me to lend him my car
The pictures were lent to each museum in turn


Lent (Latin: Quadragesima, 'Fortieth') is a religious observance in the Christian liturgical calendar that begins on Ash Wednesday and ends approximately six weeks later; depending on the Christian denomination and local custom, Lent concludes either on the evening of Maundy Thursday, or at sundown on Holy Saturday, when the Easter Vigil is celebrated. Regardless, Lenten practices are properly maintained until the evening of Holy Saturday.


Contribute or add (a quality) to
The smile lent his face a boyish charm


(in the Christian Church) the period preceding Easter, which is devoted to fasting, abstinence, and penitence in commemoration of Christ's fasting in the wilderness. In the Western Church it runs from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, and so includes forty weekdays.


Accommodate or adapt oneself to
John stiffly lent himself to her aromatic embraces


Past tense and past participle of lend.


To give or allow the use of temporarily on the condition that the same or its equivalent will be returned.


A 40-day period of fasting and penitence observed by many Christians in preparation for Easter. In Western churches, Lent lasts from Ash Wednesday until Easter, usually excepting Sundays.


To provide (money) temporarily on condition that the amount borrowed be returned, usually with an interest fee.


Simple past tense and past participle of lend


To make available for another's use
The neighbors lent us help after the storm.


A fast of forty days, beginning with Ash Wednesday and continuing till Easter, observed by some Christian churches as commemorative of the fast of our Savior.


To contribute or impart
Books and a fireplace lent a feeling of warmth to the room.


Slow; mild; gentle; as, lenter heats.


To make a loan. See Usage Note at loan.


See Lento.


(transitive) To allow to be used by someone temporarily, on condition that it or its equivalent will be returned.
I will only lend you my car if you fill up the tank.
I lent her 10 euros to pay for the train tickets, and she paid me back the next day.


A period of 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday


(intransitive) To make a loan.


(reflexive) To be suitable or applicable, to fit.
Poems do not lend themselves to translation easily.
The long history of the past does not lend itself to a simple black and white interpretation.


To afford; to grant or furnish in general.
Can you lend me some assistance?
The famous director lent his name to the new film.


(proscribed) To borrow.


Loan permission to borrow (something).


The lumbar region; loin.


The loins; flank; buttocks.


To allow the custody and use of, on condition of the return of the same; to grant the temporary use of; as, to lend a book; - opposed to borrow.
Give me that ring.I'll lend it thee, my dear, but have no powerTo give it from me.


To allow the possession and use of, on condition of the return of an equivalent in kind; as, to lend money or some article of food.
Thou shalt not give him thy money upon usury, nor lend him thy victuals for increase.


To afford; to grant or furnish in general; as, to lend assistance; to lend one's name or influence.
Cato, lend me for a while thy patience.
Mountain lines and distant horizons lend space and largeness to his compositions.


To let for hire or compensation; as, to lend a horse or gig.


Bestow a quality on;
Her presence lends a certain cachet to the company
The music added a lot to the play
She brings a special atmosphere to our meetings
This adds a light note to the program


Give temporarily; let have for a limited time;
I will lend you my car
Loan me some money


Have certain characteristics of qualities for something; be open or vulnerable to;
This story would lend itself well to serialization on television
The current system lends itself to great abuse

Common Curiosities

How do I use lend in a sentence correctly?

Use lend when discussing current or proposed actions, e.g., "I can lend you some money for the ticket."

Is there a difference in lending money to friends vs. lending to a business?

Yes, lending to friends often involves personal trust and may not include interest, while lending to a business typically involves formal agreements and interest.

Can lend and lent be used interchangeably?

No, they cannot be used interchangeably as they refer to different time frames; lend is for present or future actions, and lent for past actions.

Is it common to lend professional skills?

Yes, professionals often lend their skills to projects, consultations, or volunteer activities, benefiting others with their expertise.

What are some common items that are lent out?

Common items include books, money, clothes, tools, and vehicles.

How do banks decide whom to lend to?

Banks use criteria like credit scores, income, employment history, and loan purpose to decide on lending.

Can lend be used in all English dialects?

Yes, lend is used across all English dialects, though idiomatic expressions may vary by region.

What does it mean to lend authority to something?

To lend authority means to give support or credibility to it, enhancing its legitimacy or persuasiveness.

What does it mean when a book is lent out at a library?

It means the book has been checked out by a library patron and is expected to be returned by a set due date.

Can lend be used figuratively?

Yes, it can be used figuratively to mean giving support, adding qualities, or contributing in non-material ways.

What legal considerations are there when lending money?

Legal considerations include drafting a formal agreement, specifying terms of repayment, interest rates, and potential consequences of non-repayment.

What are the risks of lending personal items?

Risks include damage, loss of the item, or failure to return it, which can strain relationships.

Why do people often use lent incorrectly as present tense?

This common mistake may stem from confusion over similar-sounding verbs or misunderstanding of tense usage.

How can I ensure I get back something I lent?

Clear communication about expectations and timelines for return can help, as can lending only to trustworthy individuals.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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