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. 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.

Examples

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)