Prepositions can be one of the hardest grammar points to wrap your head around, but a preposition is simply a word that indicates when or where something is, such as; under, over, after, before, in, on, out, etc.
Sounds fairly straightforward, right? True. However, prepositions are often overly specific to certain verbs or can be omitted entirely. For instance, take the common phrase “send me a text”. Does this phrase need a preposition or not? The answer is no.
While it may seem like the phrase “send me a text” needs a preposition, it wouldn’t be grammatically correct to say, “send to me a text”.
It’s a little more complicated than it seems though. The preposition isn’t really the issue here. Instead, it has to do with the transitive and intransitive nature of the verb “send”.
To better understand what’s going on with these two phrases, let’s break down what’s really going on with the verb “send”. Once you understand its dual nature, you’ll be able to correctly form sentences using this phrase.
The Transitive Form of Send
“Send” can sometimes take a transitive form, meaning it requires a direct object to function in a sentence. The direct object tells us what’s being sent.
Let’s look at the following sentence to see what we mean:
“Please send the letter to me”
In this sentence, the letter acts as a direct object, i.e., the thing that is being sent. By adding the adverb prepositional phrase “to me”, I put more emphasis on the person who’s receiving the letter, rather than on the letter itself.
In this case, we need to use the transitive form of “send” to show that something is being sent to a particular person. But, because English is an SVO (subject-verb-object) language, the object should immediately follow the verb.
Placing it after the recipient wouldn’t make sense, for example, “send to me the letter” sounds jumbled.
The Intransitive Form of Send
Sometimes, send can also take an intransitive form, meaning it doesn’t require a direct object. Here’s an example sentence using the intransitive form of send:
“I will send for some flowers for Mothers’ Day.”
In this sentence, send acts differently than in the previous example sentence. Rather than meaning that something is physically being moved from one place to another, send means the same as “to request” or “to order”.
We could replace send in this sentence with these words and produce the same effect. “I will order some flowers for Mother’s Day.”
Which Form Should You Use?
If you are speaking about sending something to someone else, you should use the transitive form of “send” with a direct object:
“I will send the letter to you.”
If you want to change the emphasis, you can stress the thing being sent by restructuring your sentence:
“I will send you the letter”
Here, the letter has greater importance than the recipient.
However, if you want to use “send” as a request or an order, you can use the intransitive form.
When using a phrase such as “send me a text”, it doesn’t require a preposition.
It’s not grammatically correct to say, “send to me a text”.