As you’ve all given me your wonderful suggestions for Grammar Wednesday topics (keep ‘em coming, please!!), I’ve been wondering for a while about the proper use of some words that continue to stump me. Since they may also stump you, I’m putting them here for the collective good.
Lend / Loan – The general consensus is that these words are interchangable. I disagree. Lend, to my traditionalist mind, is a verb which means to offer the use of something with the condition that it be returned at a later date. Loan is a noun, which is the something that is offered for use:
“I will lend you my car, but I need to have it back by three so I can pick my kids up from school.”
“They needed the loan from his parents to make the down payment on their first condo.”
As I said, the words have grown, through common usage, to mean the same thing, and you’re very likely to hear loan used as a verb… but not from me.
Between / Among: There’s quite a bit of wiggle in how people use these words, too. For me, though, between usually implies a relationship of two things; among speaks of relationships of more than two. Bill Bryson, in his book Bryson’s Dictionary of Troublesome Words (generously gifted to me by Organic Mama), said it much better than I can:
“Between should be applied to reciprocal arrangements (a treaty between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada) and among to collective arrangements (trade talks among the members of the European Union). “
Yeah. What he said.
It’s kind of a lame Grammar Wednesday, and for that I apologize. I just wasn’t inspired this week. My students are writing now, though, so I’m SURE I’ll have LOTS of material from which to draw in the near future.