". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, February 8, 2008


Every once in a while the English teacher in me just has to surface . . . .

All day long today in news reports on Senator Hillary Clinton's campaign funding "troubles" (I use quotation marks because there is some question about whether the whole thing was staged or real), I have repeatedly heard the statement--from news anchors, analysts and Hillary herself--that she had to "loan" her campaign money.

Wrong, wrong, wrong! "Loan" is a noun. "Lend" is a verb. So you take out a loan, you ask for a loan, you apply for a loan, you are turned down for a loan . . . but you lend someone money (or better yet, someone lends it to you). To say that you loaned your campaign money (as Hillary did) is just bad diction.

Sorry--this kind of stuff pains me, and today it was so pervasive that it gave me a bona fide grammar headache. But writing about it is like taking a pill. I feel better now!


William Weedon said...

A bit 'tis the glory of English that you can noun any verb and verb any noun. ;)

William Weedon said...

Ah but, not a bit. Good grief!

Evan said...

You're lucky that you get to nitpick between loan and lend! I used to pull my hair out listening to people use "borrow" as a verb. {shudder}.

Evan said...

Correction. "Borrow" is, obviously, a verb: "my neighbor would like to borrow my lawnmower". What I object to is the use of borrow as a transitive verb with an indirect object: "I borrowed my neighbor the lawnmower and he hasn't returned it."

elephantschild said...

But MY neighbor IS a lawnmower, in which case the sentence above is perfectly fine.

I routinely borrow my neighbor so that I can mow my lawn.

I also LEND my neighbor, the lawnmower, to friends. They appreciate the LOAN very much.