"You have a lot of books!" A says to B, kneeling in front of B's bookshelf. "Do you mind if I borrow one for a bit?"

Can borrow be used here even though A is going to read the book in B's room (e.g. sitting next to B)?

I ask because I'm not sure if borrow implies that you're taking the item away from its original place.

  • 1
    Yes you can use borrow this way. The verb has no restrictions as to location.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 16, 2022 at 14:04
  • 2
    (With read, "a bit" probably means "for a few minutes", but with borrow, "a bit" probably means "for a few days".) Jun 16, 2022 at 14:12
  • 1
    I wouldn't describe reading a book for a while in the owner's room as 'borrowing' it, just 'having a look at' it. Jun 16, 2022 at 15:45
  • 1
    Borrow is as borrow does. A good idiom for you.
    – Lambie
    Jun 16, 2022 at 17:35

1 Answer 1


As you thought, 'borrow' does imply that you want to examine or use. If you wanted to sit down and just read it, then you'd just ask "Is it ok if I read this?"

  • 1
    Some dialects in the UK actually use 'borrow' sometimes in place of 'lend', as in "Can you borrow me your book?"
    – Steve Ives
    Jun 17, 2022 at 10:03

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