Commonly Confused Words: Loan vs. Lone

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What does each word mean?

A loan is something that is lent to someone with the expectation that it will be paid back with interest. The word can also be used to describe the act of lending. 

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is loan used in some example sentences:

  • She applied for a student loan
  • The bank loaned them money for a mortgage. 

Lone is an adjective used to describe someone or something that is solitary or single. 

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is lone used in some example sentences: 

  • The lone cloud marred the otherwise clear sky. 
  • She was the lone voice of reason. 

Where does each word come from?

Loan dates to the late twelfth century when it also meant ‘gift or reward from a superior’ and ‘gift from god’. It comes from the Old Norse ‘lan’.

Lone is a shortening of the word ‘alone’ from the late fourteenth century. The term ‘lone wolf’ dates to 1901. 

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between loan and lone?

  • Think of the word 'alone' to help you remember how to spell lone.
  • Lone has the word 'one' in it – use this to help you remember that the word is used to describe something single or solitary. 

14 May 2020
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