• 2-minute read
  • 20th February 2020

Word Choice: Leant vs. Lent

“Leant” and “lent” sound identical. They’re also both past tense verbs. As a result, it’s no surprise some people get them confused. But how can you avoid errors in your own writing? Check out our guide below to find out.

Leant (Past Tense of “Lean”)

“Leant” is a simple past tense and past participle form of the verb “lean,” meaning “incline or cause to slope in one direction.” For example, we could say:

I leant the broom up against the kitchen wall.

However, we can also spell the same word as “leaned”:

I leaned the broom up against the kitchen wall.

The “-ed” spelling is more common, especially in American English. But both versions are accepted, so it is ultimately a matter of preference.

Importantly, “leant” and “leaned” both contain the word “lean.” As such, we can see how they are related and how they both relate to the idea of leaning.

Lent (Past Tense of “Lend”)

“Lent” is another simple past tense and past participle verb, but this time for the word “lend.” We use it to describe having loaned something to someone:

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I lent him my broom last weekend and he still has it.

More rarely, “Lent” is a proper noun denoting the 40 days leading up to Easter. Traditionally, this is a time when Christians give up a luxury such as a favorite food or another indulgence. For example, we could say:

I’m giving up chocolate for Lent this year.

When referring to the Christian tradition, “Lent” is spelled with a capital “L.”

Summary: Leant or Lent?

While these terms sound the same, they have very different meanings:

  • Leant is a past tense form of the verb “lean” (meaning “incline”). However, the spelling “leaned” is more common, especially in American English.
  • Lent is usually the past tense of the verb “lend” (meaning “loan something”).

The key with these words is that “leant” contains “lean,” so it should be easy to remember that these terms are related. Alternatively, you can ignore “leant” and use “leaned” instead to avoid the confusion! But if you’d like a little extra help making sure your spelling is perfect, we have editors available 24/7.

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