[O.C.T.O.B.E.R. VI-12] Borrow

Yesterday, one of my officemates asked me for a sticky note, phrasing the question along the lines of, “Do you have a sticky note I can borrow?”

It made me think about the use of that word, and the fact that it is nearly a self-contradictory word in the way that “literally” is used nowadays.

The denotation of the word “borrow” is to take and use something, but with the intention of returning it.

But, oftentimes, people seem to use that word for single-use items, and whether or not they have an intention to return it, the giver wouldn’t want the item back.

How many times have you either asked or been asked this question:

“Can I borrow a Kleenex?”

I will say no on two accounts: (a) if you take a Kleenex from me, I don’t want it back (ergo, I don’t want you BORROWING said Kleenex), and (b) for that same denotation, the “can” is false, in addition to the “may.” Even if you have the intention of returning it, I don’t want it back.

Same thing goes for “borrowing” a piece of gum.

It’s not quite as disgusting if someone wants to “borrow” a sticky note, but it will likely be of little use to me after it has been written on and/or the stickiness dissipated.

Yes, I’m on my grammatical high horse again…


Today is the twelfth day of the sixth round of O.C.T.O.B.E.R. That makes one week and five days.

Green Bay/St. Norbert: 22 days

Minneapolis: 29 days

Lincoln: 72 days

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