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Unit 2: English In A Minute
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Session 13

Welcome to English In A Minute. Give us a minute and we'll give you a hot tip about English. Grammar, vocabulary... there's so much to learn! And all taught by your favourite BBC Learning English staff!

Activity 1

'Hire' vs 'Rent' vs 'Let'

Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? What's the difference between 'hire', 'rent' and 'let'? James is going to explain. Give us 60 seconds and we'll give you the English!

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Hi, everyone! We’re going to talk about three verbs with very similar meanings today: hire, rent and let. I’m mainly going to explain how we use these verbs in British English. But I will also mention some American usage too.

Both rent and hire mean ‘to pay for the use of something’. However, in British English we normally use the verb rent to talk about a long-term arrangement.

For example, you can rent a house, flat or TV.

When talking about a short-term arrangement, we normally use the verb hire. For example, you could hire a car, a bike or a suit. The difference in American English is that the verb rent can be used for both long and short-term arrangements.

The verb hire has a completely different meaning. It’s used to mean ‘to employ somebody.’

Finally, we have the verb let. You might hear this word in the phrase room to let, for example, which means that ‘the room is available to rent’.

Thanks for joining us everybody. Bye.

Hire vs Rent vs Let 

These three words are all verbs. They all relate to paying for the use of something.

When talking about a short-term arrangement, we normally use the verb hire.

  • We’ve decided to hire a car for the day.
  • We’re going to hire a bouncy castle for my son’s party.

In English, we normally use the verb rent to talk about a long-term arrangement.

  • We’re going to rent for the next few years, while we save for a deposit to buy our own house.
  • A lot of people think that renting is a waste of money, but it means you have less responsibility.

The word let means 'that you give permission to use some property, like a house, in exchange for regular payments'.

  • My landlady is very fair and lets the house to use for a good price.
  • There are more flats to let than to buy in this street.


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