Borrowing and lending in Spanish

Expressing the idea of “borrowing” may be challenging in Spanish because there is only one verb to express different ideas: “prestar”. Even if it sounds very confusing when trying to do a literal translation, here at iAmigo School you are going to learn how to express the idea of “borrowing” and “lending” as well as how to use the verb “prestar”, the adjective “prestado” and the noun “préstamo”. 

  • Prestar – Lend or Loan something

Similar to english, in spanish we use “prestar” when someone gives something to someone else with the expectation to get it back. This verb is usually used with an indirect object pronoun, these pronouns indicate who is going to receive what is being lent:


Yo me
Él/Ella le
Nosotros nos
Ustedes/ellos les


Then, you add the verb conjugated depending on who is giving the object:


Yo presto
Él/Ella presta
Nosotros prestamos
Ustedes/ellos prestan


So, for example, if you lend me a book I will say “Me prestas un libro”, but if we lend her a pencil, we may say Le prestamos un lápiz”. Got it?

  • Prestar- Borrow


ask for something, you can use the same formula (¿Me prestas un vestido?) or you can use “prestar” as a reflexive verb. If you pay attention, you will see it is very similar, but the pronoun is “added” at the end of the verb:

“Préstame tu carro el fin de semana” To me

“Hijo, préstale los juguetes a tu hermana” To her

“Por favor préstanos dinero” To us

“Préstales la cuchara para que prueben” To them

  • Prestado – Something borrowed

To borrow something, you use the adjective “prestado” with the verb “tomar” or “pedir”. 

¿Te puedo pedir prestada esta película?

¿Puedo tomar prestado tu carro el fin de semana?


You can also use “prestado” the same way as in english, meaning that something is borrowed.


“Este computador es prestado”

  • Un préstamo – Loan

Same as in English, “préstamo” is when you give something to someone and expect to have it back. 


“Voy al banco a pedir un préstamo”

“No te regalo mi camisa, es un préstamo”

  • “Prestar atención” – Pay attention

Maybe one of your Spanish teachers once told you “¡Préstame atención!”. In Spanish, instead of saying “pay attention” we say “lend attention” so we use the verb “prestar”. This just means you have to focus on your class and answer your teacher’s questions!

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