6

This question also has an answer here (in German):
Unterschied zwischen »leihen« und »ausleihen«

I am having trouble finding the difference between these verbs. I understand it can mean either lend or borrow, but specifically when would one use each verb? Does

Ich leihe das Video.

mean I lend the video or I borrow the video? Does the sentence need a indirect object in order to mean to lend? And when is the reflexive form used?

  • 1
    "Kann ich mir mal dein Radl leihen/ausleihen?" - Hier ist kein Unterschied. – rogermue Aug 31 '15 at 5:46
4

Ich leihe das Video.

Leihen on its own has the ambiguity you mentioned.

If you borrow it, I'd suggest

Ich leihe mir das Video aus.

If you lend it, use

Ich verleihe das Video.

  • Well, technically "leihen" can mean both. Yes. But the sentence "Ich leihe das Video" is not ambiguous at all. It always means "to borrow". If it were to meant "lend", a dative object would have been applied. – Em1 Aug 31 '15 at 9:10
  • According to the definition of "leihen" in Duden, it could be used with the meaning of "lend" without a object. Example: "Er leiht nicht gerne". It makes sense to me. Assuming that is correct, "Ich leihe das Video" is ambiguous. – Alan Evangelista Feb 22 at 6:43
  • Addind "aus" in your borrow suggestion is unnecessary and therefore confusing. Both "leihen" and "ausleihen" can mean "lend" and "borrow", according to Duden. – Alan Evangelista Feb 22 at 6:48
4

Ich leihe das Video.

means that you borrow the video. The sentence is correct, but usually the verb "leihen" is used together with "aus", in order to make the sentence more clear --> Verb "ausleihen".

Ich leihe das Video aus.

Also common is to put the object "mir" in the sentence, but it's not necessary:

Ich leihe mir das Video aus.

If you want to say that you are lending the video to somebody, then you use "verleihen":

Ich verleihe das Video.

Unfortunatelly I cannot tell, why you split "ausleihen" into 2 words, but "verleihen" not. I am not an language expert, just a native speaker.

  • 1
    Because "aus" is a separable prefix, but "ver" is not. Well, yes. The next question then is: why so? – Em1 Aug 31 '15 at 9:12
  • 2
    Instead of "Ich verleihe das Video." you could also clarify by saying: "Ich leihe dir/ihm/jemandem das Video" – Iris Aug 31 '15 at 11:18
  • According to Duden, both leihen and ausleihen can mean borrow and lend, therefore I do not see how adding the "aus" helps sorting the ambiguity out at all. – Alan Evangelista Feb 22 at 6:47
-3

Ich leihe die Schneeketten aus.

[I hire the snowchains out ][an autogarage]

This appears in Linguaphone's German course with no mention of ver

And there is (as you see) no dative object either.

  • In more sloppy everyday use, the "aus" is often omitted. In more formal, precise, written communication, you should say "ich leihe (mir) das Buch aus" (taking) vs "ich verleihe das Buch" (giving). – Christian Geiselmann Feb 27 '18 at 9:15
  • 2
    This seems to be a comment on another answer, not an answer on its own. Besides that, the English translation ("hire ... out") is just horrible. – Robert Feb 27 '18 at 16:54

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