I have 10 promotional codes that I want users to send to their friends, but I want the users to understand that I need them to send one code to every friend.... I mean this:

I have 10 codes, suppose this: AAA, BBB, CCC, DDD, EEE, FFF, GGG, HHH, III and JJJ.

I want the user to select 10 friends and send AAA to friend 1, BBB to send 2, etc.

When I say "Send one of these codes to every one of your friends", it seems to me that the user will understand that he/she has to send AAA to all friends, or all 10 codes to all friends.

What is the best phrase to say to make it clear that is one of the codes to one friend, another code to another friend, etc., up to 10 friends?



The problem here is that English doesn't have any grammatical mechanism for specifying the link between one of these codes and every one of your friends. One way to unambiguously specify the requirement would be...

Send a different code to each of your friends.

Note that taking this sentence in isolation, "different" can only mean each friend gets a different code to all the others. But there could be other contexts, for example...

He didn't use the code I gave him! He sent a different code to all his friends!

...would probably be interpreted as meaning only one code value was sent (that was different to the correct one). But in my first example there are no other codes involved, so it's unambiguous that the difference applies to the codes each friend gets sent.

  • apparently you have misinterpreted my phrase 😃... I don't want them to send one code to all. I want them to send code 1 to friend 1, code 2 to friend 2, etc... giving one code to one friend until all 10 codes are sent... – SpaceDog Feb 2 '13 at 23:04
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    @Digital Robot: That just goes to show how unclear such situations can be! Actually, since I knew there were two interpretations, I didn't bother trying to figure out from your text which one you intended - I just looked at the first answer (which you've accepted) and misinterpreted that! I'll change my text to unambiguously reflect what you want. – FumbleFingers Feb 2 '13 at 23:22
  • yes, I imagined that. This is why I have asked this, because I want it to be clear for the readers. Thanks. – SpaceDog Feb 2 '13 at 23:30
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    I've just looked at Andrew's answer more carefully. As he admits, his first version could be interpreted as meaning to send the complete list of codes to just one friend. His longer rephrasing avoids that problem, and might be preferable to my shorter version if it was really important that people realise they must only send each code to one person. But from your comment there, it wouldn't be a disaster if they got it wrong, so maybe you wouldn't want to make that big a deal of the matter. – FumbleFingers Feb 2 '13 at 23:47

Send each of these codes to a friend.

You may need to bolster that a bit:

Send each of these codes to a friend. But don't send the same code more than once.

That doesn't actually preclude one friend getting all the codes, although most people wouldn't do that. Presumably that wouldn't do any harm, even if it's not getting your message out as widely as you would like. The second sentence should stop people ending up sharing a code.

  • Thanks Andrew, that's a good idea, to use a second sentence to limit! and yes, if the user sends all codes to all friends will do no harm, but will be easier to their friends if one friend receives just one code. Fantastic idea of yours. T H A N K S ! ! ! – SpaceDog Feb 2 '13 at 16:57
  • Skeuomorphism can help: If you call them keys rather than codes, you can say "send a diferent key to each of your friends." and the metaphor will promote correct behavior. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 2 '13 at 19:35
  • @WayfaringStranger - I don't get this. Care to explain? English is not my natural language. – SpaceDog Feb 2 '13 at 23:34
  • @Digitsl Robot. A key is often a physical object, like a house key. If you give house keys out to your friends, you give each a different one. A code is just a sequence of glyphs. In this digital age, you can easily give out the same sequence to hundreds of friends. You're looking to encourage people to treat your code as they would a house key, not some password they can email a copy to everyone they've ever friended. – Wayfaring Stranger Feb 3 '13 at 22:12

Send one of these codes to every one of your friends

By saying "every one of your friends" the recipient may think they have to send the codes to everyone in their address book.

Send one individual code to each of your ten friends.

Here we define that each code is individual and it also states the number of codes and friends.

  • thanks. Nice thinking. Yes, they may think they have to send it to all address book. Thanks. – SpaceDog Feb 2 '13 at 17:27

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