Posted by: Jack Henry | February 2, 2021

Editor’s Corner: Burrowing and borrowing

Good day, everyone!

I don’t have much of a plan for today, so I thought I’d share part of an article from The Grammarist. The Grammarist sends out emails on English words and phrases, often comparing two words that people who speak English as a second language get confused. For example, today’s words are burrow and borrow. Since that combination made me laugh, and it is Groundhog Day, I thought I’d share this with you.

Burrow and borrow are words that are close in spelling and pronunciation and may be considered confusables. Confusables is a catch-all term for words that are often misused or confused; there are many confusing words in the English language that may be easily confused for each other in spoken English and written English.

A burrow is a tunnel or a hole that has been dug by an animal. Burrow is also used as a verb to mean tunneling or digging a hole. Related words are burrows, burrowed, burrowing. The word burrow is derived from the Old English word, burgh, which means a fortress.

Borrow means to use something that belongs to someone else with the intention of returning it. To properly borrow something, one should have the permission of the owner to use it and then return it. One may borrow money from a bank, in which case, one pays for the privilege. One may borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor, in which case, you should repay the favor in kind. Borrow is a verb; related words are borrows, borrowed, borrowing. The word borrow is derived from the Old English word, borgian, which means to lend.

Happy Groundhog Day!

Kara Church

Pronouns: she/her/hers

Technical Editor, Advisory

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