The word “send” is often misused by Chinese speakers who assume it is the same as the Chinese “送.” I often hear people say things like this:
- I have to get up very early to send my children to school before I go to work.
- I sent my mother some flowers for Mother’s Day.
Both of the sentences above are good English and could be correct in some situations, but as Taiwanese speakers use them, they are usually mistakes.
When Taiwanese speakers talk about “sending” their children to school, they generally mean giving them a ride to school in a car or on a scooter — in other words, taking them to school. If you send your children to school, it means you tell them to go to school, and they go — but you stay home.
Likewise, many of my students who tell me they “sent” their mother something for Mother’s Day are children who still live with their mothers! What they mean is that they gave her something. When you send a gift, you don’t give it in person; you have it delivered by mail.
The key thing to remember is that when you send something or someone, you don’t go with it/them. When you send your kids to school, you don’t go to the school with them. When you send your mother a present, you don’t go with it to your mother’s house.
If you send a person somewhere, it normally means you have authority over that person and can tell him or her where to go.
- My boss is sending me to China for a two-week business trip.
- The president has decided to send more soldiers into Syria.
- My mother sent me to the supermarket to buy some milk.
- If you want your children to improve their English, send them to Eton Royal English School.
If you send a thing somewhere, it normally means you have it delivered by the postal service or a shipping company. We also use “send” to talk about faxes, emails, text messages.
- The phone company sends me a bill every month.
- My parents send out a lot of Christmas cards every year.
- I sent you an email, but you didn’t reply. Did you receive it?
Any questions? Send them to me by commenting below.
Eton Royal English School