Loan vs lone

Loan and lone are commonly confused words that are pronounced in the same way when spoken aloud but are spelled differently and mean different things, which makes them homophones. Homophones are a group of words with different spellings, the same pronunciations, and different meanings. Homophones exist because of our ever-changing English language, and are a challenge for those who wish to learn to speak English. It can be difficult to learn how to spell different words that sound the same. The way the spelling and definitions differ can be confusing even to native English speakers when attempting to learn vocabulary correctly. Proper pronunciation of spoken English may help the listener distinguish between homophones; the words affect-effect are a good example, but the words to, too and two, or horse and hoarse, are indistinguishable from each other. Pronunciation is usually more ambiguous, as English pronunciation may vary according to dialect, and English spelling is constantly evolving. Pronunciation may change even though the spelling doesn’t, producing two words that are pronounced in the same manner but have different meanings such as night and knight. Phonological spelling and spelling rules do not always work, and most people avoid misspelling by studying vocabulary words from spelling lists, enhancing their literacy skills through spelling practice, and learning words in English by studying a dictionary of the English language. English words are also spelled according to their etymologies rather than their sound. For instance, the word threw is derived from the Old English word thrawan, and the word through came from the Old English word thurh. Homophones are confusing words and are commonly misspelled words because of the confusion that arises from words that are pronounced alike but have very different usage and etymology. A spell checker will rarely find this type of mistake in English vocabulary, so do not rely on spell check but instead, learn to spell. Even a participant in a spelling bee like the National Spelling Bee will ask for an example of a homophone in a sentence, so that she understands which word she is to spell by using context clues. We will examine the different meanings of the homophonic words loan and lone, the word origin of the terms, and some examples of their English usage in sentences.

Loan means to give something to someone else for a period of time. A loan is not a permanent gift, it is expected that the person receiving the loan will return it to the owner at some point in time. A formal loan of money from a bank or other lending institution must be paid back over a specified amount of time, with interest. Loan is used as a noun or a verb. Loan is derived from the Old Norse word, lan. Interestingly, the word loan used as a verb died out in British English, but was revived by its continued use in American English. Related words are loans, loaned, loaning, loaner.

Lone describes something that is solitary, unaccompanied, or isolated. Lone is an adjective and was first used in Middle English as a shortened form of the word alone. The word alone is derived from the Old English expression all ana, which means by oneself.


Investors are criticising documentation on a £2.193bn-equivalent loan backing the buyout of UK theme park and attraction operator Merlin Entertainments for including some of the most aggressive terms seen in the market to date. (Reuters)

Nebraska law now allows payday lenders to charge fees that amount to more than 400% annual interest on loans. (The Omaha World-Herald)

Musical breaks favored guitar wall strumming over virtuosic picking, and overall, the spare arrangements left the table clear for the show centerpiece: the Canadian Lone Ranger and self-manufactured legend’s deep, ascending baritone. (The Austin Chronicle)

He was the lone person in the car when the crash occurred at 2:46 a.m. (The New York Post)

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