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I'm a native speaker, but I'm a bit of a language lover and I'm afraid some other grammatical structures have encroached on my use of English. Another native English speaker looked at me funny the other day while we were talking about a document when I asked her to "send it me".

If I were speaking German, I could say

Schicken Sie es mir

or

Schicken Sie es nach mir

Basically, the preposition is optional because the inflection and position imply its relationship. Can I do the same thing in English? It wouldn't be inflection in this case, but can position imply the relationship such that the preposition isn't necessary?

I've said it out loud a lot of times in my head, but it sounds natural to me.

marked as duplicate by Edwin Ashworth, Drew, Laurel, tchrist Feb 7 '17 at 14:47

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  • 1
    It’s dialectal, but it exists. It’s more standard to have indirect objects come before direct objects (“Send me it”), but two consecutive pronominal objects are generally avoided altogether in most dialects, the indirect object most commonly expressed with prepositional phrases (“Send it to me”). “Send it to me” is fine in all dialects; “Send me it” is grammatical, but somewhat awkward in all (?) dialects; and “Send it me” is fine in some dialects and completely ungrammatical in others. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 6 '17 at 22:45
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    "Send it me" would appear to be telling someone to send you to it. – tchrist Feb 6 '17 at 22:49
  • @tchrist I can't imagine an english speaker interpreting it that way – Isaiah Taylor Feb 6 '17 at 22:52
  • @Janus: I would say that send me it is ungrammatical. And send John it is ungrammatical as well — you have to put the pronoun first. Send me the letter or Send it to John. – Peter Shor Jul 30 '17 at 13:26
  • @PeterShor I'm fairly sure “Send John it” is at least borderline ungrammatical in all, or at least nearly all, dialects. “Send me it” is more grammatical to most, but still likely to be avoided. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Jul 30 '17 at 13:49
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Let us presume that it is alright to drop the preposition so that grammatical propriety should allow you to express

  • Send it me.

Then you would have to solve the problem of ambiguity. Inspect the following cases.

  • Send me there.

    • Send {object} to {destination}.
  • Send it a kill signal.

    • Send {destination} {object}.
    • I asked my colleague to send a hung process a kill-signal to terminate it.
  • Send him me.

    • {Send him to me}?
    • Or, {Send to him, me} ?

Then, let's look at the following progression.

  • Send me {the document}.
  • Send me {it}.
  • Send {the document} {my information}.
  • Send {the document} {me}.
  • Send it me.

However, your paralleling your English usage with German is not precise. The two grammatical situations are dissimilar.

While German retains the difference between accusative and dative, English does not. First, pardon my deficiency in German comprehension.

  • Sie = nominative perpetrator
  • es = accusative package
  • mir = dative destination = implied to-me

Since each word is well-encapsulated, the order would not make a difference in the meaning:

  • {verb} {perpetrator} {package} {destination}
  • {verb} {package} {perpetrator} {destination}
  • {verb} {package} {destination} {perpetrator}
  • {package} {destination} {perpetrator} {verb}

Such that, due to the dative vs accusative attributes of each entity, the meaning stays the same whether you say it prosaically or awkwardly:

  • {schicken Sie es mir}
  • or {schicken Sie mir es}
  • or even {schicken mir es Sie}

Whilst German has retained sufficient declension morphemes to allow it to be used synthetically in many case, English has devolved into mostly analytic usage where word proximity, order and context of the phrase has to be analysed for the meaning of a phrase.

Case in point

In English, we would not know if a pronoun is used datively or accusatively, which is the cause of the ambiguity. Which is why it is best for you to stick in the preposition, and conform to the principle of proximity:

  • send to her his mail.
  • send it to his mail.
  • send it from his mail.
  • send to his mail to her.
  • Pls don't willy nilly go around downvoting answers because you do not understand the answers. – Blessed Geek Feb 7 '17 at 0:13
  • This was downvoted because it is the wrong answer. The right answer, given in several comments, is that it is almost unheard of in America, but in parts of England it means send it to me. Your answer, which seems to go into great speculative detail as to why it is completely incorrect in any variety of English, is not very helpful. – Peter Shor Jul 30 '17 at 13:18
  • You do not have a mathematical mind, and then you talk about England and America to conjure up some excuse for that. – Blessed Geek Jul 31 '17 at 1:19
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No, that's the wrong order.

The indirect object pronoun comes between the verb and the direct object in English, not the other way around. You give the baby a bath; you never give a bath the baby, because that would be something else. Ordering matters in English.

In German you can tell that mir is dative (indirect object) not accusative (direct object, which would be mich)

Not here. English has lost all distinction in casing for the different sorts of objects. So these become forbidden in (American?) English.

  • Send her the document.
  • *Send the document her. [WRONG]

The problem is that a direct object pronoun needs to immediately follow the verb, which pushes the indirect object away. You can’t have both an indirect and direct object pronoun. You have to convert the indirect object into a trailing prepositional phrase instead.

  • *Send her it. [WRONG]
  • *Send it her. [WRONG]
  • Send it to her.
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    “(American?)” is right: this construction does exist dialectally in the UK. I have a feeling it’s most common in Northern dialects in the UK (Yorkshire?), but I may just be imagining things. I feel like I’ve also heard it in some broad Southern US dialects. It only works when both objects are pronominal, though—giving a bath the baby is nonsensical everywhere, unless you actually worship baths and are offering your baby to the bathtub as human sacrifice. And I’d say even that is pretty nonsensical. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 6 '17 at 22:51
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    Also, you can have two pronominal objects as long as one is demonstrative/deictic: “Give me that” is fine. There are also some combinations of personal pronouns that are worse than others: “Give me it” is not the most elegant of phrasings in the world, but you do hear it colloquially; whereas “Give them her” would be quite sure to raise some eyebrows and attract funny looks. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Feb 6 '17 at 22:56
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Yes, I meant personal pronouns, the only ones ever still inflected for case, not the other sorts. Oddly, while you can give that some time, you couldn’t have a personal pronoun as the direct object with *give that her; you need to give her to that. I have a theory that as soon as animates (people, pets) are involved, they become beneficiaries and therefore must be indirect objects / datives. Think about the French double-pronoun ordering restrictions, for example. – tchrist Feb 6 '17 at 23:00
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No, in English it needs to be, "Send it to me."

As described here, the preposition "to" is often used to mark nouns or prepositions as the indirect object of the sentence.

It shows that "to me" should be dative case, and thinking about it, it appears to be required when the sentence is constructed in this form:

(noun) (verb) (direct object) (indirect object).

In your example:

(Implied you) (send) (it) (to me).

There are cases where this would not be necessary - "Give me it" or "Sarah gave Thomas a bagel." In that case, "me" and "Thomas" are still the indirect objects, but they do not require "to" because of how the sentence is laid out. But if we rephrased the sentence as, "Sarah gave a bagel Thomas," or as per your example, "Send it me," we would need "to" there.

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