How to…. borrow something politely
(From Manners Matter in the Classroom by Lori Mortenson, illustrated by Lisa Hunt (1))
There’s a right way and there’s a wrong way to borrow things politely in English.
Shouting ‘Give me your rubber!’ across the classroom won’t make you very popular; neither will just grabbing it off your classmate’s desk without asking.
Funny clip from Peep Show:
So here are some examples of the right way to do it!
Isabel: “Can I borrow your pen?”
Paula: “Sure, here you go.”
Isabel: “Thank you.”
Paula: “No problem.”
Isabel: “Do you have a sharpener I could borrow?”
Paula: “Yes, here you are.”
Paula: “You’re welcome.”
Juan: “Can you lend me your rubber?”
Pedro: “Yes, here you are.”
Juan: “Thanks a million.”
Pedro: “My pleasure.”
And of course there are times when you’re not feeling so generous…
Juan: “Could I borrow your pen for a minute?”
Pedro: “No, I’m sorry I’m using it.”
Juan: “Oh ok. No problem, I’ll ask Isabel.”
Lend or borrow?
Don’t worry if you get lend and borrow confused – they are very similar. Here’s a quick reminder of how to use them.
Lend shows that something is (temporarily) given to another person.
Borrow shows that something is (temporarily) taken from another person.
Juan: “Could I borrow your stapler?”
Maria: “Of course, here you go.”
Juan: “Thanks. Would you mind lending it to me until tomorrow? I have some notes at home I need to staple.”
Maria: “Not at all.”
(The next day)
Maria: “Hi Juan, could I have my stapler back, please? I need it.”
Juan: “Sure, thanks for lending it to me!”
But be careful who you ask, not everyone likes to share.
Can you think of any other things you might need to borrow?
Leave a comment with your suggestions.