To lend in Italian – Italian grammar lesson

Lesson 172

Key Takeaways

Discover how to use the verb prestare to say “to lend” in Italian, its conjugation, and the difference between lending and borrowing.

  • The verb prestare means to lend in Italian.
  • Conjugation includes: Io presto (I lend), Tu presti (You lend), Loro prestano (They lend).
  • Prendere in prestito means to borrow but is less common and more formal.
  • Common combinations include prestare attenzione (to pay attention) and prestare soldi (to lend money).
  • Use prestare for everyday lending and prendere in prestito for formal or impersonal borrowing.

Quick facts

How is "prestare" commonly used in Italian?

"Prestare" is used to mean "to lend" in Italian, as in "Mi puoi prestare il tuo cellulare?" (Can you lend me your cell phone?).

What is the conjugation of "prestare" for "I lend"?

The conjugation for "I lend" is "Io presto."

What is the less common Italian verb for "to borrow"?

The less common verb for "to borrow" is "prendere in prestito."

Why do Italians prefer "prestare" over "prendere in prestito"?

Italians prefer "prestare" because it's shorter and easier to say.

When might "prendere in prestito" be more appropriate?

"Prendere in prestito" is more appropriate in formal or impersonal situations, like borrowing a book from the library.

How does sentence structure change between "to lend" and "to borrow" in Italian?

The subject changes; "prestare" uses "tu" (you), while "prendere in prestito" uses "io" (I).

Can "prestare" mean something other than "to lend"?

Yes, "prestare" can also mean "to pay attention" (prestare attenzione) and "to offer help" (prestare aiuto).

What is an example of "prestare" meaning "to lend money"?

"Prestare soldi" means "to lend money."

How would you ask someone to lend you their phone in Italian?

You would say, "Mi puoi prestare il tuo cellulare?"

What is a formal way to ask to borrow something in Italian?

A formal way is "Posso prendere in prestito il cellulare?" (Can I borrow the cell phone?).

Audio images

Posso prestare la mia bicicletta?
Lei gli ha prestato la sua penna.
Puoi prestarmi la tua penna?




Posso prestarti questo libro.

I can lend you this book.

Mi presti la tua penna, per favore?

Can you lend me your pen, please?

Chi ti ha prestato la macchina?

Who lent you the car?

Non ho intenzione di prestare soldi a nessuno.

I'm not planning to lend money to anyone.

Mi dispiace, non posso prestarti altri soldi.

I'm sorry, I can't lend you more money.

My Thoughts


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.

Posso prestare la mia bicicletta?


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
Lei gli ha prestato la sua penna.

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 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 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.

Free Guide
How to Learn Languages Fast

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.

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

Puoi prestarmi la tua penna?


Here are some common combinations:

  • prestare attenzioneto pay attention
  • prestare soldito lend money
  • prestare aiutoto offer help


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.

Test your knowledge in 10 quick questions


What is the verb to lend in Italian?

The Italian verb for "to lend" is prestare. Io presto – I lend. Tu presti – You lend. Lui/Lei presta – He/She lends.

How do you use prendere?

Prendere refers to the action of bringing something or someone to us. To collect, pick up, or get something, in other words.

Italian word of the day
Dalla crisi, molte aziende hanno chiuso.
Because of the financial crisis, many companies shut down.
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