Which one is the correct sentence?

  • If you need a dictionary, I'll lend you mine.
  • If you need a dictionary, I lend you mine.
  • "I lend" would be ungrammatical. However, it will work in speech because it sounds the same as "I'll lend." Ha! – Kris Dec 5 '18 at 10:22
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    "I lend" is perfectly grammatical, but it is used in different circumstances. With "I lend" this is timeless or habitual. It could follow something like "Every week we go to French class, but we share our books". In the context the OP probably means, it has to be "I'll lend". – Colin Fine Dec 5 '18 at 10:36
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Both sentences are grammatically correct because they are of different types. The first one is 'First Conditional'. It refers to real future situations. The verb form in the main clause is usually in the so called 'Future Simple Tense' /will and the bare Infinitive/ or there is a modal complex predicate /must, may, etc. and bare Infinitive/. The second one is 'Zero Conditional'. It refers to permanent situations which are always true. The verb form in the main clause is in one of the Present Tenses /nearly always the Present Simple/.

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  • In fact, however, the two sentences would not be distinguishable in normal speech; I'll lend you mine sounds just like I lend you mine because of the contraction. So there is only a difference in writing, and that's not likely for a sentence like this one. – John Lawler Dec 5 '18 at 23:40
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    I agree. Thee are no geminates in contemporary English pronunciation. – user307254 Dec 6 '18 at 3:12
  • (Well, except for incidental ones like bookcase and hat-tip.) – John Lawler Dec 6 '18 at 17:43
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    Yes. I meant only linking words in speech, not compounds. – user307254 Dec 6 '18 at 18:26

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