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My Webster's New world Dictionary does not contain the word "loaned" at all, but my Thesaurus does, and the word "lent" is the first synonym listed. My wife, who learned English as a second language and therefore often speaks it better than I do, insists "lent" is more correct than "loaned" as the past tense verb form. Which is more correct?

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Technically speaking, though lent may be better (not 'more correct') than loaned, it is not the past tense verb 'form.' Loaned and lent have distinct present tense forms of their own. Both are conventionally acceptable in both BrE and AmE. Both are also frequently used in other geographies (by non-native English speakers.) –  Kris Mar 22 '13 at 6:53
    
"Proceeds of a pooled financing issue reasonably expected to be used to finance purpose investments qualify for a temporary period of 6 months while held by the issuer before being loaned to a conduit borrower." books.google.com/… –  Kris Mar 22 '13 at 6:58
    
"John just loaned a book to Mary. John owns the book. John just loaned a book to Mary. John has the book. Possible Top Sentences Mary just loaned a book to John. John just loaned a book to Mary. Mary just borrowed a book ..." books.google.com/… –  Kris Mar 22 '13 at 6:59
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1 Answer

They are two different verbs: "to lend" is conjugated "lend, lent, have lent", and "to loan" is conjugated "loan, loaned, have loaned".

According to Merriam-Webster, the verb to loan has died out in the U.K. This is corroborated by Google Ngrams, although it now appears to have been reintroduced from AmE. Thus, for BrE, your wife is correct. For AmE, both lent and loaned are fine.

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The wife is quite pleased with your explaination, Peter. Thank you! –  user40044 Mar 21 '13 at 18:16
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The Merriam-Webster article does seem to indicate that loan had died out in the UK, but that it had come back more than a century ago. I've certainly known the word as British English my whole life. I dare say you'd want stronger evidence that it had died out entirely - I'd bet on a few pockets of resistance! So for Br.En his wife is correct that lent is a stronger choice, but both are fine. –  Dominic Cronin Mar 21 '13 at 21:08
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Since it died out in BrE and then came back from AmE, you could almost say in BrE that it is a "loanword" from AmE... –  Ben Lee Mar 22 '13 at 18:36
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