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To lend in Italian – Italian grammar lesson 172

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Do you know how to use prestare in Italian?

Learn the grammar with simple rules and examples in this post.



If we want to say to lend in Italian we use the word prestare. Here are some examples:

Mi puoi prestare il tuo cellular?

Can you lend me your cell phone?

Marco le ha prestato il suo libro.

Marco lent her his book.


Here’s the conjugation of the verb prestare:

  • Io presto – I lend
  • Tu presti – You lend
  • Lui/Lei presta – He/She lends
  • Noi prestiamo – We lend
  • Voi prestate – You lend
  • Loro prestano – They lend

To lend vs. to borrow in Italian

In English, there’s a similar word which is “to borrow” but it’s the opposite of “to lend”.

In Italian, we say prendere in prestito when we want to say “to borrow” but it’s much less common than “to borrow” in English.

People prefer to use the verb prestare because it’s shorter and easier to say. 

The following sentence is absolutely grammatical and correct but it’s less common than the one after:

Posso prendere in prestito il cellulare?

Can I borrow the cell phone?

Mi puoi prestare il cellulare?

Can you lend me your cell phone?

As you might have noticed, the structure changes slightly since in the first example the person doing the action is io (“I”) and in the second one it’s tu (“you”), but essentially both sentences mean the same.

We tend to use prendere in prestito when we don’t really know the person who’s lending us something, like when we borrow a book from the library.

So, prendere in prestito is more impersonal and more formal.

To put it simply, in Italian we use the verb prestare (the equivalent of “to lend”) more often because prendere in prestito is much less common.

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However, this doesn’t mean it’s not correct.

To lend in Italian 2


Here are some common combinations:

  • prestare attenzione – to pay attention
  • prestare soldi – to lend money
  • prestare aiuto – to offer help

To lend in Italian 3


Luigi mi ha prestato 25 euro.

Luigi lent me 25 euros.

Mi puoi prestare attenzione?

Can you pay attention to me?

Ho preso in prestito un libro.

I borrowed a book

Chi ti ha prestato quel vestito?

Who lent you that dress?

Anna mi ha prestato il suo zaino.

Anna lent me her bag.

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