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Which one is correct and why:

I sent out the inquiry to the support team


I sent the inquiry to the support team

Even though the question is specific to "sent out", please verify the correct usage usage of articles.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

"send out" is generally used when you send something in bulk to a group (often large) of people, as opposed to simply "send" which is generally used when issuing something to someone in particular, or to a certain place.

In this case, "support team" tends to refer to the support department instead of its members, so I would say the second sentence makes more sense.

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In your first example

I sent out the inquiry to the support team.

The out is superfluous. You could tighten it up by just saying

I sent the inquiry to the support team.

If you don't have a specific party to whom you sent the inquiry, use out.

I sent out the inquiry.

This has the connotation that you sent the inquiry out to multiple people.

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what about reaching out ? – Anderson Silva Jan 13 '11 at 21:01
@vehomzzz: What about it? – Robusto Jan 13 '11 at 21:02
Does the same rule apply as to sent? reaching out to one person seems correct – Anderson Silva Jan 13 '11 at 21:18
@vehomzz: The reach out/reach case is not comparable to that of send out/send. One can either reach out to someone or reach someone. Different shades of meaning and this has nothing to do with whether it is to one person or to multiple people. – Jimi Oke Jan 13 '11 at 23:57
@vehomzz: You might want to ask another question to get a proper answer to this ;) – Jimi Oke Jan 13 '11 at 23:59

There are a number of verb+*out* constructions that can be generalized to the following:

  • sent = "sent to one or more people"
  • sent out = "sent to multiple people"

Other examples: pass/pass out, hand/hand out, give/give out, speak/speak out.

The out-form has this sense of going out to more than one person. This does not work for all verb+out forms, but there is a certain domain where this out extension is productive in English in this sense.

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what about reaching out ? – Anderson Silva Jan 13 '11 at 21:00
@vehomzzz: Personally, I would consider that out to be more of the directional type, like "stretch out" or "lunge out", but in some cases it can be difficult to decide. – Kosmonaut Jan 13 '11 at 21:32

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