5 Useful Tips to Talk About Borrowing and Lending in Spanish

Have you ever found yourself not knowing how to ask your Spanish-speaking friend to let you borrow their pen? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there! And that’s because talking about “lending” and “borrowing” in Spanish is a little challenging, since there’s only one verb to express these two different ideas, and that is: “prestar”. 

Even if it sounds a little confusing when trying to do a literal translation, here at iAmigo School you’re going to learn how to express the idea of “borrowing” and “lending” in Spanish the easy way! But you won’t only learn that, you’ll also learn how to use the adjective “prestado” and the noun “préstamo”. Very useful, right?

Borrowing and Lending in Spanish

1. Prestar - To Lend or Loan Something

Just like in English, we use “prestar” in Spanish to express lending or loaning. That is, when someone gives something to someone else with the expectation of getting it back. This verb is usually used with an indirect object pronoun and they’re not as complicated as they sound! These pronouns indicate who is going to receive what is being lent.

Take a look at them:

Subject

Indirect Object Pronoun

Yo

me

te

Él / Ella / Usted

le

Nosotros / Nosotras

nos

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

les

After identifying the person to whom the object will be lent, you can then add the conjugated verb “prestar” depending on who will be giving the object:

Subject

Prestar in Present Tense

Yo

presto

prestas

Él / Ella / Usted

presta

Nosotros / Nosotras

prestamos

Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes

prestan

Yes! Luckily, “prestar” is a regular verb in Spanish, so it’ll be very easy for you to remember it the next time you need to use it.

Now, let’s take a look at two sample sentences in Spanish:

  •  Tú me prestas un libro.

              You lend me a book.

  • Nosotras le prestamos un lápiz.

              We lend her a pencil.

As you can see, the indirect object pronoun always goes before a conjugated verb in Spanish, whereas in English it goes after the verb. Got it?

2. Prestar - To Borrow

In order to ask for something, you can use the same formula we used for lending in Spanish (e.g. ¿me prestas un libro?). If you pay attention to the Spanish sentences below, you will see it’s very similar and easy as well. The only difference is that the pronoun is “added” at the end of the verb because that linguistic phenomenon always occurs when we give a command in Spanish.

Let’s check these sentences out:

  • Préstame tu carro el fin de semana.

              Let me borrow your car for the weekend.

  • Hijo, préstale los juguetes a tu hermana.

              Son, let your sister borrow the toys.

  • Por favor préstanos dinero.

              Please let us borrow money.

  • Préstales la cuchara para que prueben el pastel.

              Let them borrow the spoon to taste the cake.

3. Prestado - Something Borrowed

Imagine you just got to your travel destination in a Spanish-speaking country and you need to ask your friend to borrow their car for the day. How can you ask this question in a more sophisticated way? Well, in this case, you can use the adjective “prestado” along with the verb “tomar” or “pedir”. 

Here’s an example in Spanish:

  • ¿Puedo tomar prestado tu carro?

              Can I borrow your car? (Lit. can I take your car borrowed?).

  • ¿Te puedo pedir prestado tu carro?

              Can I borrow your car? (Lit. can I ask to borrow your car?).

In Spanish, you can also use “prestado” as an adjective, just like you do in English! This means that something is not your own but it is or was borrowed. 

Take a look at this sentence:

  • Este computador es prestado. No es mío.

              This computer is borrowed. It isn’t mine.

4. Un préstamo - A Loan

English and Spanish aren’t always completely different and this word you’re about to learn is no exception! Just like in English, the word “préstamo” in Spanish is used when you give something to someone and expect to have it back. This applies to financial loans, as well as things you’ve borrowed from someone else. 

Here! Look at these useful examples:

  • Voy al banco a pedir un préstamo.

              I go to the bank to ask for a loan.

  • No te regalo mi camisa, es un préstamo.

              I’m not gifting you my shirt, I’m loaning it to you. (Lit. I’m not gifting you my shirt, it’s a              loan.)

5. Prestar atención - To Pay attention

This last use of the verb “prestar” in Spanish may sound very familiar to you. 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” in this expression. This just means you have to focus on your class and answer your Spanish teacher’s questions! Isn’t that interesting?

A few minutes ago, you most likely weren’t sure about how to use the verb “prestar” in Spanish but now, look at you! You’ve reached the end of our article and have gained more confidence when lending or borrowing something to your Spanish-speaking friends (and even when paying attention to your teacher!). As you know, you can use this handy verb in all kinds of situations, so it’s time to get creative in Spanish!

If you learned a lot of new phrases with this article, make sure to check out one of our other useful Spanish articles. You’ll always learn something new!

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